Mental health personal for psychologist MP

·1-min read

Registered psychologist Fiona Martin has reflected on a classmate who took his own life 27 years ago as she spoke to parliament about Australia's mental healthcare system.

The Liberal member for Reid said she still reflected on the young man's life which was not fully lived.

"I am driven by the memory of the school desk that sat empty behind me one Monday morning 27 years ago," she said.

"The memory of Brett, that tall, handsome, intelligent young man who was always kind, but would not be returning to school because he had taken his own life.

"How often I still reflect on a life that was not fully lived."

Dr Martin chaired a committee reviewing mental health care during the pandemic and tabled its final report in parliament on Wednesday.

The review found natural disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in an "unsustainable strain" on Australia's mental health system.

It recommended bulk billing incentives for mental health practitioners to make services more affordable, and found that more psychologists are needed in schools to address the crisis.

Dr Martin said she's confident the government has the ability to overhaul a fragmented and fractured mental health system given its prominence during the pandemic.

"We have never treated mental health, in (parliament), on the same footing as physical health, ever," she told AAP.

"This is why one of the recommendations is to put in place a permanent mental health committee so that mental health is embedded ... through government and policy.

"It is not just going to be a one-off mental health inquiry."

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