Last year’s budget saw the federal government place an emphasis on modernising the mental health system in Australia, pledging a $2.3bn investment. This year funding has continued with the government pledging to invest half a million dollars over the next five years to pay for the next stage of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention plan.
This spending is split across organisation, services and government agencies across Australia with the headline items being $42.3 million over four years for Lifeline and $14.8 million over five years for Headspace. In an effort to increase the accessibility of care Australians who are on a mental health plan will again receive an additional 10 subsidised visits to a psychologist.
This spending is recognition of the continued mental health impact that the pandemic and natural disasters have had on Australians over the past few years, but it is also recognition of the positive impact support has on Australians.
LifeLine CEO Colin Seery has outlined that call and digital contact volumes remained well above pre-pandemic levels and that this can also be put down to an effort to reduce the stigma around mental ill-health and suicidality as well as improving the accessibility of services resulting in more people reaching out.
Hopefully, Australia can continue to break down the stigma attached to mental-ill health and ensure that there is a functioning and compassionate system in place for those who require the support.
Virginnia Hottes is an Executive Advisor at Viridian Advisory.
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