Gippsland › Latest news › Emma Kealy MP
Gaps persist in Victorian mental health workforce that don't address vulnerable women adequately
Immediate reform must be implemented to deliver more workers for Victoria's over-burdened mental health workforce if today's pledge for acute beds is to make a dent in the shadow pandemic.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said the 35 beds at the Specialist Women's Mental Health Service came after two years of data showing the disproportionate impact Labor's pandemic response has had on Victorian women.
Statistics from Gender Equity Victoria show that during the COVID pandemic, women have experienced severe depression, anxiety and stress at higher levels than men
Need better access to mental health support
Ms Kealy said, "Stay-at-home orders, the curfew and social isolation have been a heavy burden on Victorian families, with research now revealing the toll on women's mental health and financial security. Not only that, but women and children are less safe as a result of the pandemic with a rise in family violence over the past 12 months."
"Women need better access to mental health support right now, so announcing mental health beds that are years away from being built won't make a difference, particularly if there's not enough specialists to staff them."
Call for legislative reform
Peak representative bodies have called for legislative reform and changes to funding eligibility requirements to immediately unlock an extra 4000 specialists for the mental health workforce.
Last month, the Liberals and Nationals introduced the necessary changes to State Parliament but they were blocked by Labor and Independent MPs.
Women accounted for 55 per cent of job losses during the pandemic, while performing far more of the unpaid labour at home and extra educational support for children through remote learning.
Response that affected women
Ms Kealy also said, "The Labor Government's pandemic response has disproportionately affected women, but even before COVID the Royal Commission had again shone a spotlight on how badly Victoria's mental health system was failing women."
"Labor's been in government for 17 of the past 21 years, but their neglect means too many vulnerable Victorians are missing out on support. There's an opportunity at our fingertips to unlock 4000 specialists to fill workforce shortages and make sure the sector can meet skyrocketing demand. All that's standing in the way is the Andrews Labor Government's pig-headed determination to prevent these positive reforms going ahead." Ms Kealy said.
Pictures from Pynk Health Facebook page.
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