Mental health in the spotlight

ADDRESSING ISSUES: Queensland Mental Health Comissioner Ivan Frkovic at the mental health awareness morning on Friday.
ADDRESSING ISSUES: Queensland Mental Health Comissioner Ivan Frkovic at the mental health awareness morning on Friday. Tobi Loftus

THE community, service providers and government have to work together to solve issues surrounding mental health.

That was the message Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic presented on the steps of the Kingaroy Town Hall Friday morning at a special mental health and homelessness awareness morning organised by South Burnett Peace of Mind.

"We've got to move forward and build a system so people get the services they need when they need them,” Mr Frkovic said.

"It's going to take a united effort, we need everyone to be involved.

"It's communities that make the difference, it's not one or two individuals, or a politician, it's a collective.”

A number of community members who had struggled with mental health issues, or had family members who had mental health issues also addressed the forum.

One woman spoke about how she felt her son, in his 50s, had fallen through the cracks as he was not accepted into any programs in the region.

Another woman spoke about her bipolar and the struggle she and other people faced being moved between different psychiatrists and building a level of trust.

Mr Frkovic said divides between state, federal and local government projects could be why people felt they were falling through the cracks.

"We just did state-wide consultations on the mental health system and some people are still saying why do I have to be an expert to be able to navigate this system, why is it so difficult to access a service at the time I need it?” he said.

"People are saying why am I walking around with 6 care plans in my pocket. People say the system is built around what we as clinicians, professionals, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists want to work with, rather than a system where people with a mental illness, their families and carers and get their needs met.

"This is what I've heard over the years on how the system needs to change and improve. We've got some options to do that, there are some good examples of moving forward.”

Mr Frkovic said change was happening, but would take time.

"To shift the system the size of what we have in Queensland in terms of health and mental health isn't an easy task,” he said.

"We have to change the way we do business.

"Instead of waiting for a crisis to happen, the system has to be more responsive to people early and in the community. We need community services where people can get the services closer to where they live and in a more timely manner.”

Topics:  mental health mental health commissioner

South Burnett

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