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Our mental health system isn’t coping with the deteriorating mental health of our fellow Australians.

Mental illness is the third largest contributor to the total national health burden (13.2%), yet only receives a measly 6% of the health expenditure. And the majority of that expenditure is on clinical service provision, not early intervention. It’s a band aid solution, provided way too late.

TO HIGHLIGHT why we believe it’s so important that you get MHSS certified we like to use the analogy of pool fencing.

Before we had mandatory legislation to fence pools there was a relatively high incidence of drowning deaths. These deaths were skewed to 0 – 5 year olds that ‘wandered’ into the pool.

The obvious and pragmatic solution was to create a barrier to stop this high risk group gaining access to the dangerous pool zone.

Would it be an effective solution to increase funding to paramedics to reduce accidental drowning?

No, it wouldn’t. Paramedics do a wonderful job, save lives, and no doubt require additional funding. But in the specific incidence of reducing deaths of 0 – 5 year olds by drowning, increased funding for this purpose would not deliver a substantial improvement.

Pool fencing legislation does not diminish the important work of paramedics, nurses and doctors. It is however effective in reducing the volume of drowning related incidences they need to deal with.

You can think of MHSS training in a similar context.

By undergoing MHSS training, you are effectively acting as a ‘pool fence’ amongst your family, friends and colleagues. You do not undertake the work of a counsellor or psychotherapist (paramedic, nurse or doctor) but rather serve as a protective buffer that is able to detect early onset signs of mental illness and take appropriate measures.

You can learn more about MHSS here: www.mhss.net.au

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