The Senate asked its Select Committee on Mental Health to conduct a broad inquiry into mental health services and issues. The details of the inquiry: terms of reference, contacts, etc. can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/mentalhealth_ctte/index.htm
Issues A4 members raised in our submission (see http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/mentalhealth_ctte/submissions/sub...) include:
- prevention, early intervention, acute care, community care, after hours crisis services and respite care are utterly inadequate (often non-existent) for people with ASD
- unmet need in supported accommodation, employment, family and social support services, are all barriers to better mental health outcomes for people with ASD;
- recent research in Australia shows people with ASD have a much increased risk of mental illness. Currently, little if anything is done in terms of prevention, early intervention or effective treatment for people with ASD.
- children with ASD have special needs in education settings that are not being met. People with ASD are usually granted the Disability Support Pension (DSP) at age 16 years, that is as soon as they become eligible. Granting a DSP requires testing that shows the person is unlikely to be employed in the foreseeable future. This shows education currently provided for people with ASD is not preparing them for employment.
- primary health care does not address the clinical needs of people with ASD. A person who has an ASD diagnosis has a clinical disorder that requires clinical treatment for their disorder. The treatment they require for their ASD is not available though the health system in Australia.
- while ASD is a significant burden of disease in Australia, research into ASD is almost non-existent. While the USA and Britain are developing ASD research capacity, Australia definitely is not a part of a “coalition of the willing” in ASD research.
- data on ASD is abysmal. Typically, the government and its agencies actively resist changes that would improve data collection, outcome measures and quality control for monitoring and evaluating service for people with ASD.
- the health system's refusal to treat ASD in is immoral and possibly illegal.