The Black Dog Institute has begun a campaign calling on New South Wales Premier Chris Minns to address discrepancies in the state’s spending on mental health services.

In a statement released on Monday, the institute announced its partnership with five other mental health bodies, including the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and Australian College of Mental Health Nurses NSW.

“The fact is, the NSW mental health system is critically underfunded and on the brink of collapse,” Black Dog Institute Executive Director and Chief Scientist Professor Samuel Harvey said.

The institute statement said while mental health accounts for 15 per cent of the “total burden of disease”, only 5 per cent of healthcare funding goes into mental health services.

“People’s lives are at risk. People who desperately need help are being put on prohibitively long wait-lists or simply being turned away by services, due to the lack of Government investment,” campaign partner BEING – Mental Health Consumers CEO Priscilla Brice said.

The Black Dog Institute’s demands include year-on-year increases that account for population growth and inflation and call for priority funding to be given to at-risk groups.

Professor Helen Christensen sits on the board of directors for the Black Dog Institute and the advisory committee for the Sapien Labs Global Mind Project, which recently released their fourth annual ‘Mental State of the World Report’.

The paper ranks Australia as the sixth unhappiest of the 71 polled nations.

“The wealthier countries of the Core Anglosphere such as the United Kingdom and Australia are towards the bottom,” the report states.

It notes the facts “… [run] counter to our common perception that wealth enhances well-being.”

The report, sourced from over 500,000 respondents, also showed 33 per cent of Australians describe themselves as “distressed or struggling”.

This comes amid criticism of New South Wales mental health services and long waiting lists.

“Younger generations, particularly those under age 35, saw the steepest declines in mental well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic while those over 65 stayed steady,” the report said.

In recent years, cuts have been made to the infrastructure of the mental health system, including the retirement of the 4+2 internship program, reducing the number of spaces for education in psychology, despite demand for more spots.

The NSW Labor government is yet to respond to the Black Dog Institute.