Youth Mental Health submission by FFDLR

Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT by the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs
Submission of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

“Is it credible that someone suffering from schizophrenia or a far more common mental health condition like anxiety accompanying a multitude of personal problems like poverty, homelessness and unemployment would get better by being ordered to do so on pain of separation from what is already probably tenuous family and community support? The answer is no. How is it any different if the person is also wrestling with substance dependency (itself a recognised mental health condition)?”

“The benefits of justice reinvestment are self-evident: the redeployment of resources swallowed up by an ineffective and harmful set of law enforcement measures to address the underlying drivers of the offending behaviour. It works and is effective but only if it is grounded in a realistic assessment of those underlying drivers. It therefore beggars belief that the Minister responsible for all of Mental Health, Justice Health and Corrections should therefore publish in The Canberra Times of 5 June an article on the justice reinvestment that makes no reference to the two dominant characteristics of prison populations: co-occurring problems of mental health and substance dependency which the Productivity commission and the 2006 landmark Senate inquiry into health termed the expectation rather than the exception. This inexplicable silence by Mr Rattenbury about the relevance of mental health and substance dependency to justice reinvestment is also reflected in the failure to include among the 25 people he convened for a national forum in December 2018 to discuss the concept, anyone who could speak with knowledge and authority about either mental health or substance dependency.”