Is the South Australian State Government insulting
people with a mental illness while making pious noises on the subject?
Crikey has received a Word copy of what appears to
be the final draft of a document from the SA Department of Human Services &
Health titled “Mental Health Action Plan 2004-07.”
It opens with an introduction from the minister
that states “The Labor Government came to office with
a clear commitment to Better Mental Health in South Australia.” And the
Chief Executive then tells us “We are committed to a better system of
care for mental health service
consumers and carers.”
The actual name of the Word file we have received,
however, doesn’t sit easily with these sentiments. The file is called “ONEFLEWMasterfinal.”
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The reference – to One
Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the allegorical novel by Ken Kesey that became a hugely
successful Jack Nicholson film, set in a mental hospital – is pretty bloody obvious.
If you check the “Properties” function for the
document, it says the Word software used to produce it is licensed to the
Department of Human Services. And the file title doesn’t just seem to be one
person’s joke. Everyone’s in on the gag, apparently. The “ONE FLEW” title is
included in the footer on every page of the paper, bar the cover. Not a good
“We have a long way to go,”
the minister’s introduction says. Indeed. It appears that attitudes in the department
charged with managing mental health need to be improved, for starters.
SA Premier Mike Rann told the ABC on Friday
as COAG met “The problem with mental health at the moment in Australia
is that we’ve got a fragmented system. There’s sort of parallel systems at
Federal and State level.”
The Premier clearly has a few internal
problems, too. Problems that are unhelpful with a state election where mental
health and disability are running as strong issues just five weeks away.