South Australian NGO mental health service providers will receive a 25% reduction in funding from the Department for Health and Wellbeing in the coming State Budget.
This will impact a broad range of psychosocial support, day and group and mutual self help services in SA.
This has come as a shock as it is contrary to previous indications from funders this shift in funding would not start for at least another 12 months based on risks identified by the NDIS Taskforce.
While the decision was made years ago by the previous Government, it was a financial decision that has never had and has yet to have any proper impact analysis to justify it.
An example of this lack of analysis is that the cuts were, until quite recently, intended to apply equally across a range of service types including psychosocial support for people over 65. This is despite the fact that NDIS will not accept anyone who is over the age of 65.
An important problem is that there is already unmet demand for these services and this will result in a long term reduction in capacity in the state’s mental health system.
These services have been evaluated and shown to be highly effective in supporting people to live a better life in the community and reducing their reliance on crisis and emergency care.
We are already facing increases of 5% per annum in mental health presentations at Emergency Departments (EDs) and this reduction will drive more people to use of EDs.
When fully implemented this will create savings to the SA Department of Health and Wellbeing to be around $6.8m but the losers will be some of the most vulnerable South Australians and their families.
What can you do?
We are asking everyone not to be silent about this. We have unmet demand in our community and we need to keep our services intact.
You can sign our petition here to Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade, Premier Steven Marshall and Treasurer Rob Lucas.
You can also download this letter, fill in your details, your local MPs details and send them the letter. Please also add in your own experience and why it is important we keep our mental health services fully funded.
You can find the details of all of South Australia’s local members here.
If you are not sure who your local member is, put your postcode in this interactive map. Just click here.
Making a time to meet with your local MP and sharing your concerns is also an effective way to advocate for this to stop.
And you can also send this letter to Members of the Upper House and make a time to meet with them, including the Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade MLC. You can find their details here.