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GP tax a threat to young people experiencing mental illness



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SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

MEDIA RELEASE

GP TAX A THREAT TO YOUNG PEOPLE EXPERIENCING MENTAL ILLNESS

A new report released today into the rates of young people experiencing mental illness further highlights the serious threat that the Abbott Government’s GP tax will place on our country’s most vulnerable people.

Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute’s Youth Mental Health Report states that one in five young Australians are likely to be experiencing mental illness and less than 40% are comfortable seeking professional help.

Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Jan McLucas said the findings are confronting but not a surprise.

“The report highlights the need for continued investment in a range of mental health programs, including those targeting young people,” Senator McLucas said.

“What we don’t need is a GP tax that discourages young people from visiting the doctor and seeking out the help they need.

“We know early intervention is critical when it comes to addressing a mental illness, especially for our young people, and it is already a big challenge in getting people to seek out help.

“There are real fears in the mental health sector and the general community that this is another hurdle for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people accessing the support they need when they need it.”

Senator McLucas said the Youth Mental Health Report is a timely reminder to the Abbott Government that any cuts to mental health funding following the completion of their review later this year would have serious consequences for people with mental health issues.

“There is widespread concern that the review is a precursor to the Abbott Government delivering major cuts to mental health programs and support,” Senator McLucas said.

“People living with a mental illness are already among the many vulnerable Australians on the Abbott Government’s hit list.”

The Abbott Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission to undertake the review which is to focus on efficiency and effectiveness. It is due to present its report in November this year.

WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014

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