Date published: 
10 March 2022
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

More than $127.8 million will be invested into mental health and suicide prevention support and services in South Australia over the next five years, following the signing of a landmark bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and South Australian governments.

The Commonwealth will invest $66.1 million and South Australia will invest $61.8 million to expand mental health care services to where they are needed the most.

The funding includes:

  • $101.1 million to establish a network of Adult Mental Health Centres (Head to Health) in Northern Adelaide and Mount Barker which will be co-located with new state-funded services including a Crisis Stabilisation Centre, and two additional Head to Health satellite centres.
  • $10.8 million to establish a new Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre to address gaps in the mental health system to provide culturally appropriate and more integrated mental health and suicide prevention services to Aboriginal peoples.
  • $15.6 million to establish one new headspace centre and enhance existing headspace centres to increase access to multidisciplinary youth mental health services in South Australia.
  • $400,000 to implement an Initial Assessment and Referral Tool and National phone/digital intake service that supports consistent intake and referral integration across the mental health and suicide prevention system.

In addition to these initiatives, the Commonwealth and South Australia governments will substantially deepen their partnership in the mental health and suicide prevention system, through greater data sharing and evaluation of services, closer integration of referral pathways, and working together on the regional planning and commissioning of services.

The bilateral agreement will also build and support the mental health and suicide prevention workforce, including the peer workforce.

Premier Steven Marshall said only a re-elected Liberal Government will fix the mental health mess Labor left after 16 years in Government.

“A re-elected Marshall Government will build on our strong mental health record to ensure we help South Australians when they need it the most, helping to alleviate pressure on our emergency departments around the entire state,” Premier Marshall said.

“We want to build a stronger future for our state, and ensuring we have the best health care, closer to home for all South Australians is what we have already delivered and will continue to deliver if we are re-elected.

“Importantly, providing more support and care services to people struggling with their mental health will alleviate the pressure on our Emergency Departments and allow people to access mental health care in a more appropriate environment. 

“This package of programs and services is designed to support and care for South Australians when they need it most so that we can build a mentally resilient and healthy community – no matter where you live,” Premier Marshall said.

As a result of this landmark agreement, young Australians across South Australia will have better access to mental health services, with headspace receiving a significant boost in funding to substantially expand and enhance services.

Staffing levels will be increased at a number of headspace services across South Australia, and one new centre will be established. These services will be well integrated with local South Australian services to ensure a supportive transition for those experiencing severe and complex mental ill health.

Four new adult Head to Health treatment centres will also be established, including a new centre in Northern Adelaide which will be co-located with a Crisis Stabilisation Centre and a new centre in Mount Barker. Two new satellite services will also be established.

This is in addition to the state’s first Head to Health centre that opened in Adelaide in March 2021 and will continue to support South Australians in the ‘missing middle’ and those who are too unwell for the general primary care system, but not unwell enough to require inpatient hospital services or intensive state-based community care.

Care will be delivered by multidisciplinary teams consisting of psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists, alcohol and drug specialists, mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, mental health workers and lived experience workers.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the agreement will ensure South Australians will have access to additional mental health support, when and where they need it.

“This landmark partnership between the Commonwealth and South Australia will have a significant impact on the lives of many Australians across the state, including young Australians, who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Hunt said.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said today’s announcement builds on the Marshall Liberal Government’s already significant investment in Mental Health over the past four years.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is investing a record $7.85 billion in South Australia’s health system in 2021-22 – $1.35 billion more than in the last year of the former Labor government,” Minister Wade said.

“This includes a significant $530 million annual investment in mental health services and programs to ensure South Australians can access the services they need in the most appropriate setting – which is often community-based rather than in an emergency department.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the bilateral agreement will also fund a new Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre to provide culturally appropriate services to the Aboriginal population of South Australia.

“This new centre will help reduce the heartbreaking suicide rate in Indigenous communities and supports our commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

The bilateral agreement forms part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement, which has been endorsed in-principle by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments and is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

The National Agreement considers key mental health reports and inquiries including recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health and the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice. It outlines actions to build a comprehensive, coordinated, consumer focused and compassionate mental health and suicide prevention system to support all Australians. 

The National Agreement will clarify roles and responsibilities; progress improvements in the mental health services available to adults, children and youth; improve data collection, sharing and evaluation; reduce gaps in the system of care; expand and enhance the workforce, including the peer workforce; and work to improve mental health and suicide prevention for all Australians, across a range of settings.

The Morrison Government has invested a historic $2.3 billion in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan through the 2020-21 Budget to deliver significant reform of the mental health system and ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This brings the health portfolio expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2021–22 to a record high of $6.5 billion.

Australians needing support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au 

Anyone experiencing distress can also 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.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Young Australians needing support can access free services through Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), their local headspace or online through eheadspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/).