Gippsland › Latest news › Emma Kealy MP

Almost 20,000 young Victorians suffer cruel access delays to recovery programs from Andrews Labor government

The nation's largest mental health worker recruitment drive is needed to arrest "heightened levels of anxiety and mood distress" in young Victorians, as data today reveals an alarming spike in students diagnosed with learning disabilities.

By Portal Admin - 7th July 2022 - Back to News

Almost 20,000 additional young Victorians were registered with learning difficulties, including ADHD or depression, during the time of Labor's six lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. The 23 per cent jump was the biggest spike in the nation and compares to a five per cent rise in Queensland and NSW. Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said although children have returned to the classroom, there's growing evidence the mental health of young Victorians continues to suffer.

The number of Victorian students with cognitive disabilities has soared in the past two years, as the state endured gruelling lockdowns

The number of Victorian students with cognitive disabilities has soared in the past two years, as the state endured gruelling lockdowns

Bearing lockdown burdens

Ms Kealy said, "Mental health experts are warning the youngest Victorians are bearing the biggest burden of Labor's six lockdowns, yet the Andrews government has cruelly delayed access to crucial programs that may help them recover."

"Extra mental health practitioners won't be eligible to work as counsellors in schools until at least September next year, while the school mental health fund won't kick in until 2024. Other programs are still a decade away. Everyday young Victorians wait for help is another day of suffering that means the problems will get worse."

"Remember this November that only a change in government will establish the nation's largest recruitment drive with more scholarships on offer, extra training places opened for psychologists and psychiatrists and relocation incentives to join the workforce, sooner." Ms Kealy said.

Missing out on development

Data released to Senate Estimates by the federal Education Department showed one in 10 Victorian public or Catholic school kids is registered with a cognitive disability, like ADHD, or 'social' disability, like depression or autism.

According to one clinical psychologist, long isolation of lockdown means Victorian children have missed out on the developmental benefits that time in the classroom - and away from the familial support network - offers for "wellbeing and maturation.

Pictures from Alcohol and Drug Foundation Facebook page.


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