Professor Patrick McGorry's call for "more of the same, but dearer" in mental health (The Age, 24/10/05) sidesteps an opportunity to step back and critically examine the current approach. By any definition, our model of psychotherapy-drug-hospital is failing the people it is meant to be helping. In order to "focus on best buys" and "prioritise capacity to benefit as a key criterion for investment" we need to ask: are psychiatrists the only answer? Can we improve the efficiency and effectiveness of responses by involving other practitioners and approaches? Do psychologists, nurses and counselors have a role in getting out of the diagnose/medicate loop?
Since these questions might break the medical fraternity's stranglehold on the prescription pad and Medicare rebate forms, it is unlikely they will be asked. Psychiatry has had over a hundred years of unfettered control - now we need to hear from other voices.