While there have been more conversations about and awareness raised regarding mental health in
recent years, it is undeniable that many people still face major hardship in gaining access to and
being able to afford the treatment of mental illness in Australia. Some have said that to be able to
have treatment is a draw of luck. This is caused by numerous factors which have a huge impact on
many lives. Therefore it is important to explore, in more depth, the mental health treatments
available in the country as well as their accessibility options.
Mental illness treatment in Australia can be divided into two sectors, namely public and
private. First, we shall focus on the public treatment of mental illness. Based on Australian
Parliamentary evidence, public hospitals have the tendency to focus on mental illnesses which are
acute. The most notable example is schizophrenia, followed by depressive episodes and critical
cases of bipolar disorders. From this, we can see that the public treatment of mental illness is rather
limited. This has caused difficulty in the detection of certain preventive mental illnesses.
Additionally, psychiatric beds in public hospital have decreased in recent years. Hence, many
mentally ill Australians face major problems in accessing mental health treatment due to the
limitations of care within the public sector.
On the other hand, private hospitals have been growing in recent years. Unlike public
hospitals, they have the tendency to treat mental illnesses which are less grave and more common
in society, such as depression and anxiety. However, the problem lies with the high cost which in
turn means that it becomes difficult for low income earners to afford such treatments. This in turn
then results in the restriction of private hospital funding despite government subsidies The Mental
Health Council of Australia has stated that people with a history of mental illness are more likely
to face discrimination from insurance companies because such cases are deemed unprofitable.
Taking into consideration the difficulty in accessing mental health treatments in Australia
it could be concluded that necessary actions are required to improve this situation.
According to Adele Perovic from The Guardian, there is an incredible need to decrease the
cost of mental health treatments, making them more affordable. It is also crucial to keep educating
people on this issue and that they do not ignore and underestimate the signs of mental illness.
While it is easy to tell others to “get help”, it can be difficult to do so in some circumstances.
Therefore we are hoping that treatment in Australia will become more accessible and affordable
in the future.