Why we need mental health services at Callan Park

Does the University of Sydney really want to displace mental health services from Callan Park?

Saving Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital in Callan Park is a matter of life and death

Hundreds of prisoners are people with a serious but treatable mental illness

Mental health hospital beds halved over the past 25 years

Prison population more than trebled to 9000

Almost one in ten inmates reported experiencing symptoms of psychosis in the previous 12 months

An estimated 4% to 7% of reception inmates suffer from a functional psychotic mental illness.

The twelve-month prevalence of psychosis in NSW inmates was thirty times higher than in the Australian community.

Source: Mental Illness among NSW prisoners (Justice Health, 2003)


Hundreds of mental health patients die preventable deaths because of a lack of hospital beds.

In 12 months to 2006 137 recently discharged mental health patients died by suicide; the toll in 2005 was 137; in 2004 128. If the time frame is extended – say to 30 days – then the numbers double.

Source: Patient Safety Report, Clinical Excellence Commission, Dec 2006; Duty to Care, published by University of Western Australia, 2001

The rate of suicide has doubled – at least in the past two decades, since they started emptying hospitals.

Source: Lawrence et al, “Increasing suicide rate among WA psychiatric patients”[the only state where they have tracked the fate of every patient in the 20 years following the 1980s hospital closures] Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 104, Dec 2001.

In areas where bed numbers fall below 80% of NSW Health’s target the death rate is TWICE that of areas where bed numbers are above 80%.

Half the suicide swere in hospital less than four days when the average stay for all patients was 17 days.

Source: Tracking Tragedy II (compiled by the NSW govt’s Sentinel events Review Committee, Dec 2004) pages 34-35

One third to one half of deaths are preventable

Source: Tracking Tragedy III, page vi & 27

Having a mental illness has never been more life-threatening or risky.

Source: Tracking Tragedy III, pages 13-14