For a long time there has been a big black curtain over mental health in Australia. People coming forward to talk about their struggles with depression, anxiety and other serious afflictions was the exception not the rule. Luckily, over the past 10 years there has been a pointed shift.
What is the current state of mental health in our country? And how can psychiatrists help improve upon our current predicament? Let's take a closer look.
What is happening with mental health in Australia?
In 2014, the Australian government asked the National Mental Health Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of existing mental health programs. This review is currently informing the initiatives set forth in the Fifth National Mental Health Plan, a proposed plan that will seek to establish a national approach for collaborative government effort over the next five years, from 2017 to 2022.
[NEWS] Consultation welcome on draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan. Read more: https://t.co/HvDgbbCTz0
— Department of Health (@healthgovau) October 20, 2016
Key areas of focus include:
- Coordinated treatment and support for people with severe and complex mental illness
- Suicide prevention
- Physical health of people living with mental health issues
- Stigma and discrimination reduction
- Safety and quality in mental health care
But while change takes its course, Australians are still suffering. The proof is in the numbers, just take a look at these statistics from the Australian government's National Media Initiative, Mindframe:
- There are an average of eight suicides every day in Australia
- Around 4 per cent of Australians will face a major depressive episode this year
- Only 50 per cent of people with mental health issues receive professional help
The country is crying for help and it's on us to deliver it.
What role do psychiatrists play in Australian mental health?
The state of mental health across Australia is concerning but it doesn't have to remain this way. The solution largely lies in ensuring there are professionals available to Australians suffering with mental health issues.
The fact that psychiatrists are medical doctors means they have the qualifications to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. Because of their physician status, they can combine the powers of talk therapy with a full range of medical laboratory and psychological tests, including the prescription of relevant medications. This two-pronged approach has proven to be the most effective method for improving the mental health of patients.
The state of mental health across Australia is concerning but it doesn't have to remain this way.
Becoming a psychiatrist is an extremely lucrative career, from the opportunity for upward mobility to the meaningful nature of the work, there is an opportunity to partake in a profession that ticks all of the most important marks. Here at Careers Connections we're passionate about helping Psychiatrists find the placements they are looking for so that they can continue to help the people who need it most. Interested in finding a locum or permanent psychiatry placement in Australia? Reach out to one of our team members today!