House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Mental Health

1:47 pm

Photo of Fiona MartinFiona Martin (Reid, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As a former mental health researcher and clinician, I'm in a unique position to understand not only mental health research but also the real-world implications of mental health policy. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Morrison government has saved lives and livelihoods. We are now supporting the comeback from the COVID-19 recession, and mental health support is a critical component of this process. In my first speech in parliament, I highlighted the importance of evidence based policy. Without evidence, policymakers fall back on intuition, ideology or theory alone, and this can lead us astray. Good research and evidence guide us to make the best possible policy. We have seen this in the outstanding way the Morrison government has managed the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by our scientists and our medical experts.

We continue to support Australians who have lost incomes or faced social isolation as a result of the pandemic. Evidence based policy is critical to producing a targeted and effective mental health response. In my 20 years as a mental health practitioner I learned that prevention and early intervention is critical to reducing mental health problems across the life span. The recent report from the Productivity Commission into mental health estimated that mental ill health costs Australia at least $43 billion per year, and evidence based policy focusing on prevention and early intervention will be critical. (Time expired)