Tonight’s budget propels national reform momentum

The Australian Government has signalled its ongoing commitment to the reform of the mental health and suicide prevention systems in tonight’s 2022-23 Federal Budget detailing the second stage of Federal investment in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and increasing its total commitment to $3 billion.

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Tonight’s announcement of $648.6 million supports the ongoing momentum required to achieve national reform.

National Mental Health Commission Chair, Mrs Lucy Brogden AM said:

“Tonight's Budget continues to move us forward towards a nationally reformed mental health and suicide prevention system where all people in Australia can access the help and support they need when and where it is required.

These budget measures are in response to a collaborative commitment of Government to the needs of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill health and risk of suicide, and those who love and care for them. We recognise and acknowledge that we all have a role to play in ensuring Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention systems support the delivery of services in a way that is integrated, consistent, appropriate, and ensures quality evidence-based care is available to every individual across all levels of need and experience.”

Almost one in four Australians experience some form of mental ill health in any given year, while almost one in two Australians experience mental ill health in their lifetime. The personal toll on the lives of individuals, their families and carers is immense. There are also profound effects on our society, health, communities and our economy.

“Mental illness affects all aspects of life – our identity, personal relationships, and our ability to engage in work, education, and leisure. It can disconnect us from our communities - and from ourselves,” Mrs Brogden said.

“This Budget reflects a growing commitment to building a whole-of-government response, with a number of initiatives involving funding contributions from non-health portfolios. This is recognition of the critical role all aspects of Government play in prevention and treatment of mental illness. It also reinforces the structural shift and commitment to prevention and early intervention.”

“The Budget recognises the importance of locally informed, in-community mental health care.  Certainly, within the context of suicide prevention, the Budget reinforces this through the creation of 31 Suicide Prevention Regional Response Leader positions to be established within PHNs across the country. These Leaders will be supported to develop, implement and expand community-based suicide prevention systems responding to specific risk factors in their communities.  This is a national response delivered locally within community.”

“The Budget also prioritises mental health and physical and emotional safety measures with a $87.2 million investment that will provide multidisciplinary trauma informed recovery services for people impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence.” 

“Importantly, this Budget has also acknowledged the mental health and wellbeing impacts of disasters and recognises that the Government’s response to crisis must always include provisions for mental health and suicide prevention support. This is evidenced by a commitment of $44.1 million.”

Commenting on the Budget’s commitment to governance and workforce, the Commission’s CEO, Christine Morgan added:

“Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention workforce is foundational to national reform. We are pleased to see a $60.7 million investment in the mental health and suicide prevention workforce, recognising the need for long-term investment and expansion to respond to the needs of every community. Like the workforce, the governance settings for national reform need to guide, monitor and report on the impacts of these investments which will be intrinsic to the realisation of the National Agreements.”

Key initiatives within the Budget continue the Government’s response to the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice and the Productivity Commission’s report into Mental Health. The Commission identifies the following exemplars under the five pillars of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan:

Pillar 1: $82.3 million:  Prevention and early intervention

Initiatives aligned with the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy:

  • $15.1 million to further enable case conferencing as part of supporting collaborative care.
  • $9.7 million for a National Measure of Student Wellbeing, national Guidelines for accreditation of mental health and wellbeing programs and trauma informed professional development for educators.
  • $1.8 million for Raising Healthy Minds app, which aligns with the prevention recommendations in focus area 1 of the strategy

Pillar 2:  $46.7 million: Suicide prevention - across the spectrum of national leadership, aftercare, local and regional approaches and early distress intervention.

Initiatives aligned with the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice:

  • $30.2 million for regional and community-based Suicide Prevention systems approach, with $934,000 for data development and a further $700,000 for outcomes evaluation.
  • $10.4 million for Suicide Prevention Regional Response leaders in all 31 PHNs
  • $3.9 million for longitudinal trials for treatment of suicidality
  • $3.5 million to permanently establish the Australian Public Service Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit

Pillar 3: $391.7 million: Treatment – to improve local access to care and provide high quality, affordable care when and where people need it.

  • $150.1 million to allow eligible providers to hold up to four mental health case conferences per calendar year. This will link primary, secondary and tertiary and clinical care.
  • $87.2 million to deliver multidisciplinary trauma informed recovery services for people impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence.
  • $24.3 million to support critical new treatment services and fund existing services for Australians with eating disorder. The new program will deliver specialised eating disorder treatment services within community settings to address local needs

Pillar 4: $34.9 million: Supporting vulnerable population groups – recognising we need to address the specific needs of those who are disproportionately impacted by mental ill health and suicide.

  • $17.8 million to support the mental health of multicultural communities, including humanitarian responses supporting those impacted by torture and trauma.
  • $8.6 million to establish the national Closing the Gap Policy Partnership on Social and Emotional Wellbeing (Mental Health)

Pillar 5: $89.2 million Workforce and governance – investing to strengthen and optimise workforce, while working to build a larger workforce for the future.

  • $60.7 million for implementation of National Mental Health Workforce Strategy.

For full details of the Federal Health Budget visit: https://www.health.gov.au/Budget-2022

National Mental Health Commission media contact

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  • Governance

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.

Diversity

The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.