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Students waiting too long for support

Tasmanian students are waiting too long to see school support staff, with often disastrous results for their mental health.

The Education Department has confirmed during budget estimates hearings that average wait times for school support staff are at an alarming 140 days to see a school psychologist, 28 days for an intervention and 108 days to see a speech pathologist.

There are currently 47.6 full-time equivalent speech and language pathologist positions funded across the Education Department.

However, 15.23 of these positions – or 32 per cent – are vacant.

It is vital that the education system is set up to be more responsive to the needs of young Tasmanians, including more school-based support services.

We know that half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14, and suicide continues to be a leading cause of death for young Australians.

But instead of providing early intervention services that are so desperately needed, under this government, the average wait times for students to get the help and support they need continue to be unacceptable.

Tasmanian Labor has long called on the Liberal Government to recruit mental health workers to all Tasmanian state schools.

We must do all we can to support our young people, to help them deal with mental illness and to help prevent it later in life.

Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years