Date published: 
10 September 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

Supporting young people around Australia and their mental health is a priority for the Australian Government.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day and “R U OK?” Day, Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck urged young people not to battle mental health issues on their own.

“It is particularly important this year as younger generations face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The Morrison Government has prioritised mental health for all Australians, with a focus on youth and Indigenous Australians.

“It is vital for people to understand that lifting the mental burden starts with a simple conversation – with a friend, a colleague, a family member or somebody in a support role.”

Minister Colbeck said sharing personal issues with somebody is the first step toward a healthier outlook and a better life.

“We lose too many Australians before their time,” he said.  “The decision to take your life is a devastating one and has ripple effects for family and friends, often for generations.

“The Australian Government is more determined than ever to turn around these tragic statistics.”

Minister Colbeck said on top of recent actions to engage young people and identify the challenges they face, the Government has made a commitment of $509 million towards the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – the largest strategy of its kind in Australia’s history. Key areas include:

  • Strengthening the headspace network by investing an additional $375.0 million to establish an additional 30 new services (10 centres and 20 satellites), reduce waiting times at existing services, continue the Early Psychosis Youth Services program, and expand the Young Ambassadors program;
  • A focus on Indigenous suicide prevention with an investment of $14.5 million for tailored initiatives such as a national plan for culturally appropriate care; and
  • Reinforcing early childhood and parenting support, by investing $11.8 million in initiatives such as Kids Helpline and batyr.

Minister Colbeck praised organisers for their work to engage those in need through initiatives like “R U OK?” Day which has established itself as an important annual fixture to raise awareness.

“Starting that conversation isn’t always easy but it is so important,” Minister Colbeck said. “Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance – you are not alone.” 

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline
(13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

More information about R U OK? Day can be found on the website.