The Delivering Mental Health Reform package will see a $2.2 billion investment over five years to make fundamental reforms in Australia’s mental health system.
The Taking Action to Tackle Suicide (TATS) package was introduced as a 2010 election commitment and comprises four streams of activity to provide more services on the ground for those at risk of suicide:
- Boosting frontline services to support those at risk
- Taking action to prevent suicide and boost crisis intervention services
- Providing more services and support for men
- Promoting good mental health and resilience in young people
For the period 2011-12 to 2015-16 the total investment under the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide
package is $292.4 million.
The initial TATS package was made up of 15 components. Three components of the package have been consolidated into the mental health reform package announced in the 2011-12 budget to support more integrated implementation. These are:
- The nationally consistent reporting ($6.9M) commitment which has moved across to the new National Mental Health Commission
- The boosting non-clinical support services ($60M over three years); and the more community-based psychiatry services ($22.2M over three years). Funding under these two elements has been redirected to the Partners in Recovery: coordinated support and flexible funding for people with severe and persistent mental illness and complex needs initiative.
The remaining initiatives funded under this package comprise:
1. Boosting frontline services to support those at risk
More community-based psychology services
($40.5M over five years)
This measure will provide more psychological services for people at risk of suicide through the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program. Funding has been rolled out to Medicare Locals to allow for an expansion of suicide prevention services nationally, and is estimated to provide psychological services for more than 40,000 people who have attempted or are at risk of suicide or self-harm. Top of page
2. Taking action to prevent suicide and boost crisis intervention services
Boosting capacity of crisis lines
($30.3M over five years to 2015-16)
Ongoing funding to increase the capacity of Lifeline to answer calls, to provide for toll free calls from mobile phones and to provide a dedicated phone line at some key suicide hotspots.
Mental Health First Aid
($10.9M over five years to 2015-16)
Funding has been allocated for Mental Health First Aid training for frontline community workers in the financial and legal sectors, relationship counsellors, and healthcare workers to better identify and respond to the needs of people at risk of suicide or who have attempted suicide. The initiative is providing Mental Health First Aid training in these sectors across 40 regions in Australia.
Infrastructure for suicide hotspots
($15M over five years to 2015-16)
Capital funding will be provided to improve safety at notable suicide ‘hotspots’ through the implementation of infrastructure such as improved fencing/ barriers, night lighting, signage and closed circuit television monitors.
An open Invitation to Apply for funding was released to the market on 30 March 2012, and closed on 30 April 2012. Submissions received from applicants are currently being assessed. Top of page
Community prevention activities for high risk groups
($38.1M over five years to 2015-16)
This measure will support community led suicide prevention activities targeted at groups and communities which are at high risk of suicide, including Indigenous people, men, gay, lesbian and bisexual people and families bereaved by suicide.
Funding has been provided to the National LGBTI Health Alliance for strategic mental health and suicide prevention activity under this program. Funding of $1.1M has been provided to the alliance over two and a half years, for the MindOUT national mental health and suicide prevention project.
Funding of $17M (for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15) was recently announced for particular groups at high risk of suicide including:
- $4.8M to expand the Wesley LifeForce project to support communities at greater risk of suicide
- $6.9M to improve access to bereavement services (StandBy Suicide Bereavement Response Service) and
- $5.2M to provide suicide prevention services targeting men in the building industry (Mates in Construction).
In April 2011, $6 million of the $38.1M was quarantined for community prevention activities for specific community based suicide prevention projects targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2011-12, the first tranche of this funding, representing $1.5 million, was allocated to five projects around the country. The department is conducting an open invitation to apply process in 2012-13 for the remaining $4.5M under this measure.
On 8 May 2012, the Menzies School of Health Research was appointed to develop a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy. Menzies has undertaken community consultation forums with key stakeholders in capital cities and regional locations in all states and territories. Input has been received from a range of sectors, including government policy and service sectors, NGO’s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community members. It is anticipated that the strategy will be provided to government for consideration in the first half of 2013. Top of page
Outreach teams to schools
($18.7M over three years to 2013-14)
The headspace School Support program commenced service delivery in January 2012 with web based information and resources available, and email and telephone support in place.
headspace School Support teams are now established across seven states and territories to provide direct support to secondary schools and surrounding communities impacted by suicide or concerned about students at risk. headspace School Support services are accessed by schools, individuals or communities, on a voluntary basis.
This measure integrates with and complements current headspace activities, and has links to and complements other Commonwealth funded intiatives including MindMatters, the national mental health initiative for secondary schools, and StandBy, a community based program that provides a 24 hour coordinated crisis postvention response.
headspace School Support services and resources can be accessed at www.headspace.org.au/schoolsupport or on 1800 688 248. Top of page
3. Providing more services and support for men
Expansion of the National Workplace Program
($16.5M over five years to 2015-16)
This program helps workplaces identify and support workers with depression and anxiety who may not be receiving treatment.
This component has allowed beyondblue to expand their National Workplace Program to an additional 350 workplaces each year. In January 2012, beyondblue launched the e-learning component which is significantly increasing the accessibility of training for workplaces nationally.
Increased helpline capacity
($4.7M over five years to 2015-16)
The beyondblue helpline provides an anonymous way for people to seek information and advice on depression, anxiety and other related disorders.
In May 2012, beyondblue launched a digital marketing campaign using online advertising targeting men across Facebook, Linkedin, Google and other major web publishers. The advertising refers people to a beyondblue men’s specific website (www.beyondblue-men.org.au) and to the beyondblue Info Line.
This component will increase beyondblue’s capacity to promote men to take action.
Targeted campaigns on depression and reducing stigma
($12.5M over five years to 2015-16)
These campaigns will target high risk groups, including young men (18-25 years), older men (>60 years), fathers, rural men, men from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, members of the gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, homeless men, unemployed men, those with co-morbid substance misuse and men living in outer urban growth areas.
This component will allow beyondblue to adapt and extend existing education and awareness campaigns and develop new targeted community awareness and mental health promotional campaigns. Top of page
4. Promoting good mental health and resilience in young people
($27.9M over five years to 2015-16)
This measure will enable the successful KidsMatter Primary initiative to be expanded to an additional 1700 primary schools by June 2014 (2000 in total).
The KidsMatter Primary expansion target of 1200 participating schools by June 2013 is on track, with over 1000 schools (including 101 pilot schools) participating as at March 2013.
Additional services for children with problems
($34M over five years to 2015-16)
This measure will provide psychological services for around 26,000 children who have or are at significant risk of developing a mental, emotional or childhood behavioural disorder and their parents through the ATAPS program.
Funding has been provided to all Medicare Locals to deliver services. The ATAPS Child Mental Health Service (CMHS) purchasing guidance and operational guidelines were distributed to all Medicare Locals in April 2012. The department has signed a contract with the Australian Psychological Society (APS) to develop national on-line training and clinical support for ATAPS CMHS mental health professionals with training to be progressively rolled out from the first half of 2013.
Online mental health and counselling services
($29M over five years to 2015-16)
As part of the July 2010 TATS package, $21.1 million was allocated for a ‘virtual clinic’ to provide online and telephone counselling to people with mild to moderate depression.
Access Macquarie (a wholly owned subsidiary of Macquarie University) has established the online virtual clinic. The virtual clinic - MindSpot - began operations on 3 December 2012. It provides online and telephone cognitive behavioural therapy for those with mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
This service is free and can be accessed at MindSpot (mindspot.org.au) or by phone 1800 614 434 with or without referral from a health professional. Top of page