Federal MP David Littleproud agrees there is a lack of youth mental health services in the region. Photo/File
Federal MP David Littleproud agrees there is a lack of youth mental health services in the region. Photo/File

‘MORE SERVICES NEEDED’: MP backs mental health boost

FEDERAL member for Maranoa David Littleproud said he shares the concerns of the South Burnett community regarding mental health services, however pointed towards the Darling Downs West Moreton Primary Health Network (DDWMPHN) for improving efficiency and effectiveness of medical services.

Despite the DDWMPHN funding 13 mental health programs in the region, there is a major lack of youth services which Mr Littleproud acknowledged.

“I have personally met with mental health providers in the South Burnett and have written to the Minister for Health in relation to the need for additional youth mental health services in the region,” Mr Littleproud said.

“I share the concerns of the South Burnett community for increased mental health services in the region and have been advocating for greater access to services since elected member for Maranoa.”

READ MORE: ‘I DON’T TRUST THE SYSTEM’: Family speaks out on tragic loss

Residents in the Burnett are living through a mental health crisis, with more people in the region taking their own lives than anywhere else in the sunshine state.

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare this month identified the Burnett region as having the highest suicide rate per capita than anywhere else in Queensland.

Between 2015-2019, suicide tragically claimed 67 Burnett lives.

These preventable deaths are linked to several factors including a lack of access to mental health services and mental health professionals in the region.

READ MORE: Frontline workers expose failing mental health system

Mental health services in the South Burnett region are provided by the DDWM PHN and the Australian Government is providing $24.8 million to DDWM PHN from 2020–21 to 2022–23 for mental health and suicide prevention services.

Mr Littleproud said the PHN’s make their own decisions and are operated independently to government.

“PHNs make decisions independent of government and are operated by not-for-profit companies. They decide which services or health care interventions should be provided and who should provide them. They also work closely with providers to monitor performance and implement change,” he said.

“It is the responsibility of the DDWM PHN to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improve the co-ordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“Mental health providers in the South Burnett who feel these programs are not accessible or meeting the needs of the community should contact DDWM PHN to raise their concerns.

“I welcome contact with my office on this important matter.”

READ MORE: SUICIDE EPICENTRE: Data reveals Burnett’s dark problem

If this story has raised any issues for you, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or The Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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