Mental health emergencies and community safety.

It is estimated that 4 million Australians will experience a mental health problem each year.

The bill for this year on mental health is $4.3 billion including $120 million on mental health research.

On the 27th November 2017 the Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a $53 million boost to new research funding of 47 projects through the NHMRC.

https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/media/releases/2017/53-million-find-better-mental-health-treatments-and-care

It has been calculated that Australia spends about 300 times as much on cancer research as it does on research into mental health issues. Yet mental illnesses cause more disruption to the lives of family members, friends and associates who have to cope with their emotional and behavioural instability, than does cancer.

In a less tolerant era, doctors were able to certify dangerous psychotic patients as insane, institutionalizing them against their will, and protecting society from their irrational behaviour.  Not so today.

Most patients can be successfully managed as outpatients, but the risk is that some will stop taking their medication, and refuse to present for the treatment they need. Should they also consume alcohol, and/or use drugs, it is highly likely that they will end up creating a public disturbance, and come to the attention of the police.

Police methods designed to apprehend criminals and law-breakers may be excessive, and inappropriate for the management of disturbed but non-psychotic mentally-ill patients, particularly if unarmed.

https://tedablogdotcom.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/how-should-our-police-handle-the-mentally-disturbed/

For this reason it may be wise to more often involve ambulance based paramedics acting under the direction of psychiatrists.

I would hope our government would allocate more research funding, and establish a national panel to formulate best policy for the management of psychiatric emergencies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and that a national panel could be appointed to formulate best medical policies.

 

About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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