ACEM welcomes the appointment of Associate Professor Ruth Vine as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for mental health in Australia to guide government response to the mental health impacts of COVID 19.

It is great to see the Federal Government prioritise the mental health of Australians, many of whom come to emergency departments when they are experiencing mental health crises.

Emergency departments were struggling with the increasing numbers and complexities of mental health presentations before COVID-19 and we anticipate an increase in mental health presentations as a consequence of the pandemic.

Typically, people presenting with mental health crises to EDs wait much longer than other patients – an experience that is stressful for them and for ED staff.

We look forward to working with Associate Professor Vine to develop system wide approaches, particularly for those experiencing mental health crises presenting at EDs.