Monthly Archives: December 2009

Fix it

The state government isn’t bankrupt. It has the capacity to find money, to raise money, to borrow money. So what the hell is its excuse for this?

MENTALLY ill Victorians who should be in psychiatric care spend up to four days in emergency departments because of a shortage of beds…

Dr Eddey said that, depending on how unwell people were, they could be behaving violently and require restraint in a secure room with constant supervision. Regardless of their behaviour, he said it was inappropriate for them to be treated in emergency departments.

”If you don’t have a specialised quiet room, which only some places have, general cubicles subject you to 24-hour light, 24-hour noise and 24-hour activity. If you’re mentally ill, it’s probably the worst place to be.”

The closing of mental health facilities over the past twenty years and the reduction of funding to those that remain – under both Liberal and Labor – is one of the stupidest and most short-sighted forms of cost-cutting in Victorian history. It makes the condition of desperately unwell people worse (making it more expensive to treat them in the long run) and, for some, it makes certain crimes inevitable, creating further public expense in police, lawyers and courts – not including the cost of the crimes themselves. And most importantly, it’s inhuman and unjust.

This is an emergency department. It is not a place to shove mentally-ill people while you wait for a bed to become available.

What’s the Mental Health Minister have to say for herself? Continue reading