Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, doorstop - 22 April 2024

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister McBride's doorstop in Launceston on the opening of headspace; youth mental health; Medicare Urgent Care Clinics; aged care.

The Hon Emma McBride MP
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Assistant Minister Rural and Regional Health

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General public

JOURNALIST: Can you reiterate the Federal Government's involvement in this, and I guess the policy around it at the moment - 

EMMA MCBRIDE: So, headspace is the national youth platform for mental health care and support. There are now 160 headspaces across the country, with a commitment to grow that to 173 by 2025-26. At the moment, there's four headspaces here in Tasmania, and a commitment to have a new headspace on the eastern shores of Hobart. Including for the first time in Tasmania, an Early Youth Psychosis Program to be able to support younger people earlier in life at risk of a major mental ill health, because we know early intervention makes such a big difference in a young person's path in life.

JOURNALIST: And what was the Federal Government's funding for this site specifically?

EMMA MCBRIDE: Across the country this financial year, the Government has invested more than $290 million in headspace. But the particular enhancement funding that's allowed the headspace to be able to relocate to this almost double the size premises was $3.53 million. And that's across the four existing headspaces that are commissioned through the Tasmanian Primary Health Network. A big boost through demand management and enhancement funding, because we know here in Tasmania, and right around the country, there's been a rise in distress amongst young people. So in order to respond to that, we have the headspace Demand Management and Enhancement funding. And what we've seen here in Launceston is really significant. Already this year to see more than 5000 sessions of care with more than 700 young people, and importantly, with more than 300 young people who hadn't accessed headspace services before. I know it's a place that young people trust, that they feel comfortable coming to, and where they'll get the support and care that they need and deserve.

JOURNALIST: And you're saying that 16 to 24s are experiencing some of the worst mental health of any demographic? How severe is that?

EMMA MCBRIDE: This is something that we've seen in recent ABS data about mental health and wellbeing, that those aged 16 to 24- back in 2007, when the headspace model had only just been developed, about 25 per cent of young people reported in a 12-month period experiencing a mental health disorder. That's jumped to over 38 per cent in the most recent data. This is something that people know through their experience talking to young people, whether it's in classrooms or playgrounds or on sporting fields or in workplaces. So, which is why the government is so strongly investing nationally in the headspace model to be able to strengthen and expand the model. And what we've seen here has demonstrated that it's working, that despite the rising demand that they've now been able to have four new counselling rooms, to see more than 300 new young people. SO, what the government is doing is trying to meet that growing demand by making strong investment right here in Tasmania and across the country.

JOURNALIST: Do you reckon I could just ask two other health questions?


JOURNALIST: Do you think the Tasmanian government's ambulance ramping ban is going to work and mean more people get the help they need?

EMMA MCBRIDE: As a Commonwealth, we work strongly through the National Health Reform Agreement with each of the jurisdictions. the ambulance, or the operation directly of the emergency department, is, as you would know, the state government's responsibility. We've seen ambulance ramping as a problem in different parts of the country, and each state and territory has had a different approach and introduced different measures to be able to try to reduce that pressure. As a Commonwealth, what we're determined to do is to reduce the demand on emergency departments through our new urgent care clinics. We've now got 58 across the country, with a commitment to expand that- the footprint of those urgent care clinics. I visited the urgent care clinic in Hobart, and we've already seen people with urgent but not life-threatening care be able to get a support through an urgent care clinic, giving them more timely support, and also taking some of that pressure off the hospital emergency departments.

JOURNALIST: Is the Federal Government open to providing more support to ease pressure on the health system, including – oops –  establishing more urgent care clinics –  I probably should have read the question before that – or working with the aged care sector to speed up discharges?

EMMA MCBRIDE: And this is something that, as I said in my earlier response around urgent care clinics. So there are now 58 up-and-running around the country. And at a National Cabinet at the end of last year, the Prime Minister committed to work with the states and territories to expand that network of urgent care centres, because we've already seen them meet that dual purpose of getting- people getting urgent care immediately, and also easing the pressure on emergency departments. So we will be expanding the network of urgent care clinics, which I think is an important measure working with the states and territories on aged care. The Government has come in with a big reform agenda on aged care. And I know hearing from the state and territory health ministers, the number of older Australians who are currently in hospital, who are clinically able to be discharged, but there isn't a place for them, a suitable for them, in residential aged care or other type of accommodation. So it's something that our Aged Care Minister, Minister Wells, working in strong collaboration with the state and territory ministers, will be working on. There was a national Aged Care Taskforce. The report is with the Government, and we're determined to be able to make sure that all older Australians have quality care, and affordably.

JOURNALIST: Lovely. Perfect. Thank you.

EMMA MCBRIDE: Thank you.

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