New South Wales’ mental health recovery plan must include mental health nurses
Tuesday 2 November 2021
NSW is looking to fast track its population’s mental health recovery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the focus on more appointments with an already stretched mental health workforce, the lack of recognition of qualified mental health nurses shouldn’t be the way forward.
As part of the NSW economic roadmap, the government announced $130 million of funding to go towards providing public access to private psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health beds as well as training 275,000 people in the community to become mental health first aiders.
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomed the extra spend, and encouraged the government to also consider providing better and easier access to qualified mental health nurses.
“We always welcome any boost for the mental health workforce to ensure people receive the support they need,” ACMHN CEO Stephen Jackson said.
“Qualified mental health nurses are just as qualified as other mental health professionals to provide people with the help they need, yet they still do not have access to a wide range of relevant Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items.”
$35 million of the spend is going directly to boosting the surge capacity of the mental health clinical workforce, allowing NSW Health to access privately practising psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals.
“Qualified mental health nurses should be at the frontline, tackling the NSW mental health crisis as equals with other mental health professionals,” Mr Jackson said.
“Credentialed Mental Health Nurses have undergone a rigorous assessment by the College that certifies that they fulfil the highest standards of care in the profession. They are skilled in a range of different therapy approaches, and can treat mental health conditions in conjunction with physical issues.”
“The College is looking forward to working with the NSW government to ensure Australians get the best care as fast as possible.”
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