A MAN who committed suicide after escaping from a Ballarat psychiatric unit was failed by a mental health system in crisis, according to Australia’s peak mental health body.Mental Health Council of Australia deputy chief executive Sebastian Rosenberg said the death of Joseph Kranz was a “national shame” and called for governments to be held accountable.Mr Kranz, 27, died in a Geelong motel on March 30, last year, the day after escaping the Ballarat Health Services psychiatric unit by jumping its back fence. “I think this poor man’s mother said it quite reasonably, workers were doing what they could but the system let them down,” Mr Rosenberg said. “Inadequate hospital care meant that there was inadequate clinical care and follow-up care, which meant her son was in a particularly vulnerable situation.”Ballarat Independent MLC Dianne Hadden said the tragedy confirmed how under-resourced the mental health system was in Victoria.”The families and the parents of mentally ill people in Ballarat talk about being caught up in the revolving door policy of the Ballarat Health Services psych unit,” Ms Hadden said.Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said the tragedy pointed to the State Government’s inability to manage the health system.But State Government spokesperson Ben Hart said if there were issues with the quality and security of the facilities, then that was something for Ballarat Health Services to address.”We don’t see any evidence yet that this is a resource issue and we will be seeking advice from the (Ballarat Health) service to see how they are implementing the recommendations from the coroner.”Mr Rosenberg believed a fresh $4 billion commitment to mental health care by state and federal governments signalled they were starting to pay more attention.”To put it in perspective, out of total health expenditure in Australia mental health is about seven per cent.” Mr Rosenberg said. “The burden of the disease is about 12 per cent. With the extra money mental health will move to about eight per cent. “That gap says a lot about the crisis in mental health.”
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