A MENTAL health survey initiated by the federal government has received a mixed reaction from Orange’s mental health practitioners.
The Gillard government is seeking community feedback from an online survey for the nation’s first mental health report card.
There was agreement between the private and public mental health sectors that there are significant mental health issues in the region, however they disagreed on the usefulness of a survey.
Dudley Private Hospital mental health unit psychiatrist Dr Graham Blom said that depression and anxiety feature among the issues in the Orange region.
“Everyone knows the problems, the problems is doing something about it,” he said.
“It’s another cheap step in the lack of doing something without spending any money.”
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the report card marks a new chapter for mental health in Australia.
“This consultation process will help us create the best possible product that can effectively deliver the information Australians need and want about their mental health system,” he said.
Western NSW Local Health District director of mental health and drug and alcohol Services Dr Russell Roberts said the survey signifies a greater accountability in mental health services across Australia.
“The most common mental illness suffered in central west is depression ... regional areas however, confront a range of unique issues that impact negatively on mental health,” he said.
“These include drought, flood and rural adversity in general.
“The impact of rural adversity on farming communities should not be underestimated as it affects not only farming families, but businesses and the whole community suffers when farm income diminishes and families are forced to leave town.”
Dr Roberts said it is important for rural communities to get involved in the national survey so they can get their fair share of mental health funding in the future.
To contribute to the survey and learn more go to http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/report_card
The survey is open until May 31, 2012.