Professor Patrick McGorry calls for public inquiry into mental health system

Former Australian of the Year and headspace founder Patrick McGorry has called for a far-reaching public inquiry into the country’s beleaguered mental health system.

Professor McGorry, who led the Canberra launch of lobby group Australians For Mental Health in March, said it was time to turn up the volume on the issue ahead of this year’s state election in Victoria and a federal election in 2019.

“How do you look under the hood of the mental health system?” he asked.

‘We all know it’s broken but the only way to examine that is with a major national review or public inquiry.”

HARD TRUTHS: Professor Patrick McGorry says the country's 'broken mental health system' is a combined failure of state and federal governments over two decades.

HARD TRUTHS: Professor Patrick McGorry says the country's 'broken mental health system' is a combined failure of state and federal governments over two decades.

Professor McGorry, who was alerted to The Border Mail’s coverage of the homeless youth rescued by an Albury hairdresser,  said he was not surprised by the reported system failures that had sent the 24-year-old spiralling back into crisis.

“We got rid of all the old psychiatric hospitals and completely failed to replace them with a credible alternative,” he said.

“We have acute units but there is no longer term residential care … there’s nothing like that.

“(And) community mental health services are completely inadequate to deal with issues of this complexity.”

Professor McGorry said the country's broken mental health system was a combined failure of state and federal governments over the past 20 years.

He has called for fundraising support from grassroots community and the country’s movers and shakers to help AFMH put mental health at the forefront of coming elections.

Border residents have thrown their support behind the hairdresser with the big heart and the troubled man she rescued from the streets of Lavington in August, 2017.

But he was again rendered nameless in reports after legal threats from the NSW Office of the Public Guardian. 

Community mental health services are completely inadequate to deal with issues of this complexity.

Professor Patrick McGorry

Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan recently stated: "In mental health, every system failure has a name...”

He attended the 2018 National Roundtable on the Mental Health of People with Intellectual Disability where opening speaker Michael Sullivan implored delegates to address people by name.

“A powerful reminder that people are not their labels … and are not the sum of their problems,” he stated.

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