A mental health system in crisis
Recently, I spoke before a parliamentary inquiry into the ‘Equity, accessibility and appropriate delivery of outpatient and community mental health care in New South Wales’, on behalf of the NSWNMA.
As a mental health nurse, it was a privilege to be given a voice in what is a very important inquiry. I arrived at the inquiry hoping to shed light on the inequity of access experienced by mental health consumers in the community and outpatient settings. This is something I witness in my everyday working life.
I used this opportunity to speak about burnout for frontline mental health workers, and the support required for nursing staff in this field. I stressed the reality that this is often traumatising work. There was also discussion about the Mental Health Telephone Access Line, which has been privatised in some LHDs. We also examined the opportunities, including financial support, for mental health nurses to further their studies and gain higher grade positions by accessing postgraduate study.
While I was initially nervous about the prospect of speaking before a parliamentary inquiry, I found the overall experience to be not quite as intimidating or as unfriendly as I expected.
I sincerely hope the panel members listened to my evidence and take action to address the dire state of our mental health system.
Victoria Norris, RN