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$48.1m mental health funding boost to tackle coronavirus impacts

May 21st, 2020

The Australian Government has launched a package of measures to support the mental health of Australians during the coronavirus crisis. Adding to the National Health Plan, it has announced an additional $48.1 million to fund the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan.

The Plan focuses on the need to help people as early as possible if they are feeling the impacts of the pandemic, and to make sure that Australians in need of support get the right care at the right time.

The three immediate priorities of the Plan are:

  • enabling early and effective action ($7.3 million);
  • reaching vulnerable groups ($29.5 million); and
  • connecting people to care ($0.9 million).

Reaching vulnerable groups

The Plan recognises that a number of groups have been impacted more than others by the pandemic, and that it is essential to support care in homes, workplaces and schools across Australia.

The Government is committed to funding:

  • $19 million to the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to deliver in-reach mental health services
  • $3.5 million to Carers Australia and Carers Gateway to deliver assistance to people with ongoing mental illness
  • $3.5 million to ensure health information from current service providers is available in languages other than English
  • $3.5 million to the PHNs to work closely with Aboriginal communities and bolster existing services as restrictions are lifted.

Enabling early and effective action

The National Suicide and Self-Harm and Monitoring System will receive an investment of $2.6 million to enhance and expand its services. With an additional $4.7 million to continue the suicide prevention research through the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund.

Connected Mental Health Services

The Australian Government is working with service providers and state and territory governments to create a system that betters connects people to local mental health services that can be delivered in the home.

In addition, a $10.4 million national mental health communications campaign will provide Australians with the confidence to access the help and information they need to better support their mental health.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health portal, Head to Health.

For more information click here for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Health Plan fact sheet.