The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia made the following submission to the Senate Select Committee on Health on 19 September, 2014.
The St Vincent de Paul Society believes health is a human right. In our service delivery, the Society is particularly engaged in mental health, and runs a range of mental health programmes around the country. We do this, in part, because there is a gap that is left by public programs: we are deeply concerned with the lack of healthcare that is accessible and affordable for the poorest Australians.
Moreover, we have observed that an individual’s mental health crisis almost never occurs in isolation: it is intertwined with housing stress, employment options, race, gender, class, place, and the success or otherwise of previous mental health interventions. In April 2014 we called for a new approach to mental health in Australia that recognises the social determinants of health and these intersectional issues, and focuses on community education and early intervention.