Senate debates

Monday, 14 October 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Girls Takeover Parliament

4:28 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I'm so proud to be able to share the words of Dilanga De Silva, who I have had the pleasure of hosting in my office today. The particular focus of the work that she undertook is mental health. She says, 'Mental health disorders have consistently been ranked in the top three concerns of young Australians over the last few years, with 25 per cent of young Australians having faced a mental health disorder in any one year. However, as an origin research study demonstrates, higher education institutions currently lack the resources to sufficiently deal with mental health issues. As Australians it is a right that young individuals live happy and healthy lives and are equipped with the tools to assist them in dealing with mental health issues in the future for themselves or for another person.'

She says, 'However, the mental health system in secondary and tertiary educational institutions currently fails to provide adequate and timely support when assistance is sought by individuals who are facing a mental health disorder. Too often students must wait months for an available appointment, let alone with their regular counsellor or psychologist, to receive advice and counsel on how to manage their mental health disorder. As a result students not only fall back academically and socially, but this inattention to managing mental health issues can lead to more serious actions such as self-harm or suicide.'

She continued: 'Research undertaken by Youth Action in 2017 found that mental health services were too adult centric, segmented and outdated. Mental health services are currently understaffed at educational institutions, and lacking in rural communities, and are not tailored to tackling youth issues. It is vital that the Australian government should not only address aiding young people to manage mental health disorders but also be more attentive to their effects. With greater accessibility, availability and more tailored mental health services for Australians through increased government investment in resources, we can better aid youth with mental health issues and reduce the number of deaths and situations that may occur due to poor support for people with mental health disorders.'

Dilanga has raised an extremely important issue that affects so many young people in this country. I really enjoy it every time we have Girls Takeover Parliament, and I commend the young women that have taken over our parliament today. I look forward to them taking over this parliament permanently at some time in the future.


No comments