More mental health services needed

THE CHALLENGES faced by the state’s mental health services are mirrored by the sharp rise in episodes of care since the turn of the century.

The levels of staff now caring for people with mental illnesses have also been bolstered significantly during the same time period.

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District northern cluster manager Beth Norton revealed yesterday that incidents of care provided by the community mental health services have more than quadrupled since the 1999-2000 year when 7000 were recorded.

The most recent statistics show that 30,706 episodes of care for patients with a mental illness took place in 2007-08.

“Inpatient care has increased from 400 to 544 inpatient episodes over the same period.

“The service has grown from 40 staff including three full-time medical staff when it was established 10 years ago to 80 staff today, including 10 full-time medical staff, four of whom are consultant psychiatrists.

“The teams provide forensic mental health services including court liaison services; prison mental health services; indigenous; and older persons mental health.”



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