Media event date: 
6 August 2020
Date published: 
7 August 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Australian Government is providing an additional $2.6 million to assist Victorians with severe mental illness whose access to psychosocial supports has been impacted by COVID-19.

This funding will provide support to a vulnerable group of people, ensuring that they receive assistance in accessing day to day support, and in accessing more extensive support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if necessary.

The funding recognises that it is vital to ensure that people, particularly those with severe and complex needs, are able to continue to access care despite the regrettable but necessary measures required to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding is part of a $13.4 million investment in Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to supplement existing supports available through the Commonwealth psychosocial support programs. This funding enables the recruitment of Service Navigators to help consumers, their families and carers access the supports needed to improve mental and physical health.

It will also enable clients of the Commonwealth psychosocial support programs to test their eligibility for the NDIS, if they are assessed as needing ongoing and a higher level of support for day-to-day living.

This builds on the Government’s earlier investments in psychosocial support for people with severe mental illness of more than $350 million over five years to 30 June 2022.

More information about the Commonwealth psychosocial support programs is available at https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/psychosocial-support-mental-illness.

Our Government continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

Since January 2020, the Australian Government has announced a number of emergency response measures, totalling more than $500 million, to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes funding for eligible health professionals to deliver mental health care via telehealth; $74 million to boost the capacity of key mental health services; $48.1 million to support the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan; and $7.3 million for 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subject to further COVID-19 restrictions who have used their existing 10 sessions.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

Ministers: