Media Release

Wednesday 30 April 2024

Gaps in the mental health care system letting locals down.

Australia’s mental health care system is fragmented and under-resourced, especially affecting the people in our region from the Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg.  We are faced with higher levels of mental health and alcohol and drug issues compared to Australia as a whole.

Debbie Blumel, CEO of Your Best Life Disability and Health Services, is calling for systemic reform.  “There are gaps across the public and private mental health care system that you could drive a truck through,” says Ms Blumel.  “We need to better integrate and streamline between sectors, reduce stigma, and address the high cost of services.  In particular, we need to invest more permanently in services instead of the stop-start drip funding arrangements.  Most of all, we need to establish an effective local oversight and governance arrangement informed by community needs.”

In the region extending from Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg, more than one fifth of people live with mental and behavioural conditions.  This is higher than for Queensland as a whole and the national average.  Alcohol consumption is also above average, with one fifth of people consuming more than two standard drinks daily.

Emergency Department presentations for mental and behavioural conditions are also higher here than for Queensland as a whole and nationally.  “These statistics highlight the urgent need for a more joined-up mental health care system.  The system needs to reach community grass roots and include peer supports, and prevention and early intervention.  It needs to get the right sort of help to people at the time it is needed”, said Ms Blumel.

Professor Patrick McGorry, a leading psychiatrist and advisor to the Federal Government has also emphasised the necessity of a more integrated service model.  “Without a cohesive and well-connected system, individuals suffering from mental illness cannot navigate the complex pathways to receive timely and effective treatment,” he stated recently.

These statistics and expert opinions underscore the critical need for reform and integration across mental health services in the region to enhance the effectiveness and accessibility of mental health care.

Ms Blumel said that she backed investment in capacity building and strong networks between established local organisations that provide affordable and accessible mental health supports.  “Local organisations have done the hard yards for decades on piecemeal funding; it’s time to bridge the pathways between services so we don’t lose people between the cracks”, she said.


Debbie Blumel

CEO, Your Best Life Disability and Health Services Ltd.

0499 995 711

Ala Pietranik

Marketing Communications Manager
0450 848 278



About Your Best Life Disability and Health Services Ltd

As a not-for-profit organisation, Your Best Life Disability and Health Services Ltd. has been a cornerstone of support for over 35 years, championing the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities and health conditions, including mental health conditions, across the life stages.  The organisation is family-centred and offers a wide range of services designed to empower its clients and foster a life of dignity and independence.

Through specialised services offered via Children’s and Teens’ Therapy Services, Mindcare Mental Health Services, Workfit and Wellness employee assistance program, LevelUp Independent Living, and Your Choice Plan Management, YBLDHS caters to a diverse clientele, ensuring personalised, high-quality care.

Your Best life Disability and Health Services Ltd is a company limited by guarantee which is established to be, and continue to be, a charity that is solely owned by its membership.

People who support the aims of the organisation are eligible to apply for membership. A small membership fee is charged annually, and Directors are authorised to approve new members.  Members of the company elect the Board at the Annual General Meeting following procedures outlined in the company’s constitution.  The AGM is usually held in November each year.

Your Best Life Disability and Health Services is a not for profit company and complies with the ACNC’s standards for not for profit companies. Our Constitution and governance documents state our charitable purpose and not for profit provisions which are reflected in our decision-making and actions. Surplus funds are invested in expanding the number, quality and reach of our services while providing for the financial sustainability of the company.  The company cannot distribute income or assets directly or indirectly to its members. If the company were to decide to close, its assets would be transferred to a company with similar charitable objectives.