17.5 C
Byron Shire
September 28, 2021

Mental health petition makes parliament listen

Latest News

New COVID-19 cases in Byron and Kyogle

Two new cases of COVID-19 have been identified on the North Coast of NSW casting doubt over Byron Shire coming out of lockdown at midnight.

Other News

Why are there so many vaccinated people in hospital?

It may be confronting to hear there are more vaccinated people than unvaccinated people in hospital – but it’s actually a good thing.

Cartoon of the week – 22 September, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Pre-Accelerator program on offer

Those seeking to start a business, or with an early-stage business are encouraged to apply for one of four subsidised program places through the Sourdough Business Pathways Pre-Accelerator Program.

Biggest corporate greenwashers revealed by Greenpeace

According to a new analysis by Greenpeace, most of Australia’s highest-emitting companies that have implemented net-zero emission commitments do not have any will to meet their target.

Covid 19 virus fragments in Ballina Shire and Grafton sewage

The Northern NSW Local Health District says fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 were detected in samples taken from the North and South Grafton sewage treatment plants on 24 September.

Byron and Tweed lockdown to end at midnight!

The lockdowns in the Byron and Tweed local government areas will end at midnight tonight, with no further cases having been detected in either area.

Byron Bay man Curtis Cloake has received over 53,000 signatures on his petition. Photo Facebook.

A petition on change.org starts with the sentence: My name is Curtis. I am 18, and suffering from severe anxiety.

Curtis Cloak started the petition because he is alarmed at what he says are the shocking rates of youth suicide, depression and anxiety in the community.

Cloake’s petition, which to-date has 53,035 signatures, has prompted local MP Justine Elliot to bring up the subject in Parliament. Yesterday she spoke about the urgent need for more support for young people to access mental health services in regional areas.

Curtis says his anxiety has stopped him doing a lot of things. ‘I dropped out of uni this year as a result of my mental health,’ he said on the petition page. ‘I tried medication, but it wasn’t for me. Regular sessions with a psychologist are making a huge difference to my mental health. However I am struggling to afford my ongoing psychology appointments.’

Curtis says he has spoken to so many people his age who are also struggling with their mental health and also can’t afford ongoing care. ‘That’s why I am calling for better access to therapy for young Australians.

Screenshot of Justine Elliot MP in Parliament.

Dramatic increase in the numbers

‘There has been a dramatic increase in the number of young people presenting at Australian hospital Emergency Departments for self-harm, stress and anxiety, mood, behavioural and emotional disorders. 

‘You most probably know someone close to you who has been in this exact position.

Curtis says that on top of the ongoing youth mental health crisis, young people are experiencing income inequality, underemployment, and struggling to make a living wage. 

‘The Australian Government needs to re-address the crisis of mental health in Australian youth, especially young people in rural and regional areas. We need to provide free psychology and psychiatric services to every young person in Australia, including remote areas.

Thinking outside the box

‘Our Government should also be thinking outside the box, and creating free services to engage our youth with mental health issues. 

‘Why can’t we access professional online therapies for depression and anxiety disorders?

‘I would love for every young Australian with a mental health issue to be able to watch online videos and answer questionnaires designed to highlight destructive behaviour and how to avoid it. If we have questions or worries, we should be able to message a psychologist who would reply or call us back with advice or encouragement.

‘All of this should be free of charge. 

Justine Elliot MP thanked local Curtis in parliament for his outstanding petition and his work in putting this issue on the national agenda. ‘We desperately need to have more mental health services and support for young people in our regional areas.

‘I have written directly to the Health Minister, Greg Hunt about this issue and forwarded him Curtis’s petition.

‘I have also raised this issue with many of my Labor colleagues including the Shadow Health Minister, Chris Bowen,’ said Ms Elliot.

‘We all have to work together to get more mental health services for our young people in regional areas. It’s up to all of us to get involved if we are to make a real difference.’

Local services aware of need

BYS Youth Worker Deb Pearse says that local organisations like the BYS are well aware of the need for increased mental health services in the local area.

‘Young people who suffer from anxiety, depression and other self harming behaviours need access to trained and supportive professionals to assist them in navigating a complex world,’ she said.

‘BYS is currently seeking a Safer Communities Grant to deliver Teen Mental Health First Aid Training in every high school in the Ballina state government electorate.

Mental health treatment plans

Curtis says that currently, if you are suffering from mental health and are on a mental health treatment plan, the government provides up to 10 Medicare-rebated sessions for psychological treatment. ‘For example, a consultation to visit a psychiatrist will cost you $143.85 after your rebate. The cost to see a psychologist after your rebate is $65. A lot of young people cannot afford to take care of their mental health. And what will they do after they have used up their 10 sessions? They then have to pay the full cost which is around $300 for the psychiatrist, or $150 for the psychologist – this is every time they have to see them.

‘My aim is to bring down the shocking rates of youth suicide, depression and anxiety by getting the government to step up and do more.

‘We need better free mental health care for young people. Please, sign and share this petition if you agree.’

Link to Justine Elliot’s speech here.

You can sign Curtis’s petition at change.org.

You can vote for the Teen Mental Health First Aid Training project by logging on to https://mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au  by the close of business on the August 16.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. From personal experience I can say that whilst meditation and assistance from a properly qualified teacher will not get rid of mental health difficulties it helps! Better to undertake something that is helpful even if not the complete solution.

    • Is this REALY a good look for Australia? ReTweet
      Say NO to Luke Howarth’s positive spin and YES to more Social Housing.
      Help put an end to Homelessness in Australia – Sign the Petition!
      http://chng.it/RCxDKKC27d via @ChangeAUS
      Do you care at all about the plight of the Homeless?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The circular economy in action

Life Cykel is a versatile, forward thinking and high ethos company that focuses on harnessing the circular economy and the great potential that mushrooms possess to create quality products for human, and planetary, health.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 29 September, 2021

Byron Writers Festival co-presents a special online event with acclaimed author Jonathan Franzen. 

Organic local Koala Tea

Koala Tea has won several awards over the years and has been inducted into the ACO Organic Hall of Fame.

Organic Forrest

Pioneers of the organic food movement, David Forrest and Sue Mangan have been farming in Federal since 1978.