Federal funding for mental health tops $2.2 billion
The Federal Government’s 2011-12 Budget has brought the total national funding for mental health care and research to over $2.2 billion over five years after the announcement of $1.5 billion in new funding initiatives via the National Mental Health Reform package.
Major elements of the package include:
- $343.8 million over five years for people with severe mental illness.
- $227.6 million over 5 years to expand the Support for Day to Day Living in the Community program and the Personal Helpers and Mentors program.'
- $205.9 million over 5 years for more psychological services through an expansion of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program. This investment will be used to target hard to reach areas and groups that are currently underserviced, such as children, Indigenous communities and socio economically disadvantaged communities.
- $14.4 million to establish a single mental health online portal to provide easy, ‘one stop’ access to evidence‐based online psychological therapy.
- $419.7 million for the expansion of mental health services for teenagers and young adults through more funding for headspace and Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC). $222.4 million of this will go to the establishment of a further 30 to 90 headspace centres to provide services for people aged 12 to 25. When fully operational, the centres will be able to assist 72,000 people across Australia per year.
The government will also establish a Mental Health Commission that will sit within the Prime Minister’s Office, providing a whole‐of‐government approach to mental health.
A further $11 million has been announced for mental health research and universal mental health checks for three-year olds, following research that found that mental health problems develop in children’s formative years.
Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said that regular mental health checks can pick up on children at risk of developing conduct disorders. "Our advisory group presented very clear evidence that the nought to 12 age is a very important age," he said.