As you are all aware, over the past few weeks we've been holding meetings with all the north west Community Mental Health teams to discuss safety and workload issues stemming the often-unmanned mental health hotline and lack of clinical staff. Those meetings are now complete, and all services are onboard and in agreeance that things need to change.
As previous mentioned, HACSU raised your issues with the state-wide executive resulting in the fast-tracking of two Mental Health Hotline roles for the north west and a new manager in the south to alleviate the need for clinicians to triage calls. While this is positive step, we did hold doubts this would occur in a timely enough fashion to solve the safety issues of here and now.
This was proven to be the case as the very next day when staff were advised there was no-one on the Mental Health Hotline and the services were again required to triage their calls. Since then there have been several occasions of this occurring again with the latest being just this week.
So where do we go from here? We can't imagine much will change in the near future if we continue like this and wait for SMHS to employ more staff, so we must pressure them and the government to fix the issue now. There is now common consensus among the teams that we can start to take action.
This is where we need everybody onboard, and only HACSU members will be able to take part in action and be protected as we move to the next steps of the campaign.
If you're not a member you're left in a position where you'll need to decide whether you'll continue to work through any industrial action - undermining all that your colleagues are fighting for - or join the union and fight together to address these issues for yourself, your clients and your colleagues.
Obviously, the latter option is how we win change, so I urge you all to encourage any colleagues who aren't members, to jump onboard and show support.
We will be in touch again soon to start the action once all preparations have been finalised.