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RANZCP calls for urgent action on mental health care crisis

RANZCP Media release

9 May 2019

RANZCP calls for urgent action on crisis mental health care for all

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) along with other peak bodies, health professionals, people with lived experience of mental illness and carers calls on governments to urgently improve the quality of crisis mental health care for all Australians.

The RANZCP President, Dr Kym Jenkins said: ‘Access to mental health assessment and multidisciplinary care and support, in a timely manner, is an essential part of effective mental health service delivery regardless of a person’s age, culture, when they might fall ill, or where they happen to live.’

‘In many settings across the country, there are inadequate services to appropriately support people experiencing mental health crisis, and some even discriminate against the most marginalized and vulnerable in our community.’

‘All too often, for a range of reasons, the emergency department is the only option for people at a time of acute crisis.’

‘In these instances the assessment and care provided must be timely, of the highest quality and tailored to that person’s individual needs,’ said Dr Jenkins.

The RANZCP believes the quality of mental health care delivered in emergency departments must be on parity with the treatment provided for other presenting health conditions.

Dr Jenkins said: ‘The provision of genuinely respectful, personalised and culturally-informed care in an emergency department, for all distressed and traumatised people seeking help, can play a pivotal role in improving both health outcomes and patient experiences.’

‘This is especially the case where it is delivered in a safe, supportive and well-designed environment with the infrastructure and specialist staffing to meet the needs of those people in crisis.’

‘Engaging those with a lived experience of mental illness in the design or redesign of mental health policy and services is essential to developing and implementing a mental health system which is fit-for-purpose.’

The RANZCP is pleased to be working with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) in calling for urgent action by governments to improve the safety and quality of mental health care and support for all people presenting to an emergency department in crisis.

For more information on the four recommendations and seven principles and priorities for action see the Mental Health in the Emergency Department Consensus Statement.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

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