National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan
In May 2020, the Government made a commitment to support the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan with $48.1 million in funding.
The COVID-19 pandemic is posing significant health, lifestyle and economic challenges for Australians and evidence shows there is likely to be a significant negative mental health impact as a result. Australia’s mental health sector has been agile in responding to the increasing support needs of Australians with new opportunities including the expansion of digital services and telehealth as well as innovative community-based models of care. However, there remains areas that need to be addressed in the immediate and long-term response.
The mental health and wellbeing response to the pandemic has three core objectives:
- meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of all Australians to reduce negative impacts of the pandemic in the short and long-term;
- outline core principles and priority areas to inform jurisdictions as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19, including as restrictions ease, to balance national consistency with flexibility for locally-appropriate community-based responses and solutions and ensuring that any risks posed by relaxation of restrictions are assessed and responded to; and
- define governance, coordination and implementation requirements including data collection and sharing across jurisdictions to facilitate informed planning and decision making.
This plan prioritises the mental health of Australians in line with physical health and sets out a direction to help navigate through the pandemic.
All jurisdictions are called on to continue their current commitments and accelerate change to include the Plan actions, tailored to meet the needs of their specific communities. The total response called for is a whole of government approach that is nationally consistent, builds on current momentum and innovation, and responds quickly to address critical gaps. This will enable mental health services to meet the growing and changing needs of Australians as a result of the pandemic.