The Guardian 6 April, 2005

Rally calls for
greater spending on mental health

Unions and community groups have called on Victoria's state government for more resources for mental health at a rally on the steps of Parliament House on March 31.

The rally, coordinated by the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), comes on the back of a focussed campaign by the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) to promote mental health resources as a significant health and social issue.

Lloyd Williams, HACSU state secretary, spoke at the rally along with other carer and community representatives. He told the 500-strong crowd that mental health resourcing needs stronger backing from the government.

One in five people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illness represents 20 percent of the illness burden in the community and yet mental health receives less than 10 percent of the health budget.

HACSU has put a detailed budget submission to government (details available on their website calling for an additional $80 million over two years for mental health.

The ongoing HACSU Peace of Mind Community Campaign and the 2004 HACSU Mental Health First Campaign aim to make the government understand that it cannot lose focus on one the most significant contemporary social issues facing the community.

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