• Tony Bosworth

MP Templeman on committee to look into mental health system

Individuals and organisations with experiences in tackling mental health issues and suicide are invited to make submissions to a new parliamentary committee reviewing how bushfires and the pandemic have changed the needs for support services.

Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman, who has been appointed to the committee, said the experiences of professionals and residents in the Hawkesbury who have suffered the dual events of bushfires and Covid would provide useful insight for the inquiry.

Members of the Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Werriwa MP Anne Stanley, Deputy Chair and Dobell MP Emma McBride, and Macquarie MP Susan Templeman in parliament.

“Just this weekend, two local services have told me about the demand in their areas for suicide crisis support rising sharply, and another service says demand on their team is up 300 per cent from pre-fires,” Ms Templeman said.

“There are a number of reviews of the current mental health system, with a range of recommendations, and it’s the committee’s job to see if those recommendations are still fit for purpose,” Ms Templeman said.

“Residents in areas like the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains know first-hand the challenges that the bushfires and pandemic brought about, with many finding themselves navigating the mental health system for the first time. These insights are invaluable.

“People have experienced isolation, job loss and financial stress, and several mental health support providers have told me demand for their services has skyrocketed.

“As a member of this committee, I will be helping to review the findings of several reports into mental health – including the recent Productivity Commission Inquiry and the newly released Victorian Royal Commission – and also looking at mental health and suicide prevention initiatives that have been rolled out successfully, from grassroots services to international programs.

“The committee will be conducting hearings as part of its inquiry, and is also accepting written submissions from people and organisations who want to share their views and experiences.

“I would urge people in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury – as well as local organisations – to consider a submission. It doesn’t have to be long, and can simply be a letter explaining how you as an individual have seen positive changes to getting support, or negative experiences in accessing help.”

The committee will be accepting commissions until March 24, and guidelines on making a submission can be found by visiting www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Making_a_submission.

Dates and locations for the committee’s hearings are available at www.aph.gov.au/mhsp.

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