Launch of Mind Australia Report

The Federal Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the Launch of the Mind Health Report at Parliament House, Canberra on 23 March 2017.

Page last updated: 23 March 2017

PDF printable version of Launch of Mind Australia Report (PDF 197 KB)

23 March 2017

I will start by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land and paying my respects to their elders, past and present.

I also thank Mind Australia for inviting me today, and for commissioning this report.

The report, “The Economic Value of Informal Mental Health Caring in Australia”, provides insight into the impact and importance of informal health caring in Australia.

It quantifies carers’ time, effort and impact in providing unpaid care and emotional support for people, who are often close relatives in caring for loved ones with mental illnesses.

The report estimates that 240,000 Australians care for adults with mental illness and it would cost $13.2 billion to replace informal mental health care with formal support services.

The report also provides insight into the profiles of the carers who are most commonly the carers’ spouses or partners.

A majority of informal mental health carers are working-age females and a substantial proportion of mental health carers are young people under the age of 25.

In both of my portfolios, aged care and Indigenous health, I am very aware that mental health is a major issue.

And I know from talking to people all over Australia, that informal carers are doing an incredible job for people with mental illness, just as they do for people who are physically ill or disabled.

This report by the University of Queensland adds to our collective understanding of the extent of informal caring in the mental health space.

My view, and the Government’s view, is that the best support for informal carers is to make sure that people needing care can access appropriate health services.

Our national mental health reforms are well under way and are starting to make a difference on the ground.

The 31 Primary Health Networks across the nation are working with GPs, specialists, hospitals and other health professionals to fill gaps in local services.

Since July last year, PHNs have been responsible funding and commissioning primary mental health and suicide prevention services – using a $746 million flexible funding pool.

They started by assessing what their regions needed in mental health, and what was available, so they could logically and effectively respond to their people’s specific mental health needs.

I equally want to ensure that my constituents in my seat of Hasluck access the right services at the right time.

Older people in care are a particular concern.

They can become isolated both socially and physically, whether they are at home with a carer or in residential care.

That’s why aged care services such as the Community Visitors Scheme, dementia supports, and social support provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Program, are so important.

This is an issue I want to keep front of mind as we consider the future of aged care. I’m currently looking to hold a discussion with key sector people on mental health for ageing Australians in May.

In short, there is a lot of policy activity under way which will make it easier for people with mental illness to get the treatment and therapy they need.
It won’t remove the need for informal carers, who do an invaluable job out of love.

This vital role is something I want to make sure we preserve throughout the reform journey.

The Government greatly appreciates their efforts, and that is why we made sure that carer representatives were actively engaged in consultations on the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

The plan is set to be endorsed by COAG Health Council in August, and we’ll be listening closely to feedback from carers as we move into the implementation phase of the Plan.

Thank you.


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