Each year, around 1 in 5 Australian adults experience problems with a mental disorder. This is a large number of people needing help with significant mental issues which can be anything from anxiety to psychotic episodes.

The problem is that the Australian health system is struggling to cope with providing adequate mental health services. In some states this has led to tragic incidents occurring. Work is currently underway to try to improve the situation.

How more professionals can help

There is an ongoing need for more professionals to help with mental health care requirements in Australia. These professionals include:

  • Mental health counsellors. Individuals who gain a Counselling degree work with people to help them overcome issues such as grief, anxiety or depression.
  • Clinical psychologists. These professionals use several different therapies, including psychotherapy and behavioural therapy, to help people who are suffering from mental or behavioural disorders.
  • These experts in the treatment of mental health problems are able to diagnose emotional and behavioural issues in people. They are also able to prescribe drugs to assist with the treatment of these problems.
  • Qualified mental health nurses. These are professional nurses who are involved with the diagnosis and treatment of patients who are suffering from mental health issues.

Why having the right personnel is not the full answer

While it’s certainly positive to have experienced personnel in place to help people who are suffering from mental health issues, it’s not the full answer to the problem.

The treatment of people who are suffering with their mental health is not an optimum level in Australia. There are many reasons for this, and a lack of dedicated personnel is just one of them. The main lack of personnel is in the area of mental health nursing.

Many nurses are choosing not to remain in this field of nursing because of problems that are present. These problems include an increase in the number of verbal and physical attacks by patients who are mentally unwell. Clearly, work should be done to address this problem.

In fact, work needs to be done in order to improve the situation in mental health treatment overall. For instance, there is an acute lack of mental health beds in some areas. This has led to some patients leaving hospital without getting the treatment that they need.

While having more qualified professionals in place can only be a good thing for the treatment of mental health, other improvements also need to be made. These improvements involve changing working conditions for professional mental health workers and increasing the number of dedicated mental health beds that are available. It seems that the Australian government has started to take the crisis in mental health care seriously. Hopefully, this means that the treatment of mental health patients should improve going forward. Improvements should also be made to the working life of certain mental health professionals so that they can effectively treat the patients who need their help.

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