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“They all could have been saved”: Expert slams mental health system for failing Victorians

One of state’s leading mental health experts has slammed the Victorian system, saying hundreds of lives could have been saved had there been adequate investment by the state government.

Head of the Orygen youth mental health centre, Professor Patrick McGorry, told Tony Jones a “total rebuild” of the system is needed and should be an election focus for both parties.

“Two out of three Victorians are turned away from mental health services every day, and three out of four young people,” Professor McGorry said.

“Imagine if that was people being turned away from Emergency Departments with physical injuries.

“We’re spending $22 billion on the NDIS each year, for 400,000 Australians and there are four million Australians effected by mental illness, we’re spending about $9 billion on that and most of it is in welfare payments rather than proper healthcare.

“It’s just never been taken seriously.

“Six hundred Victorians died from suicide last year, they could have all been saved, had they had proper care.”

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“I think the government has acknowledged there’s really been a decade of under investment in public mental health care in Victoria,” he said.

“Politicians really do need to tune in to this issue, because Victoria should be functioning a whole lot better than this.”