More than $260 million will be invested in mental health and suicide prevention support and services in Queensland over the next five years, following the signing of a landmark bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments.
The Commonwealth will provide $150.9 million and Queensland will invest more than $109.5 million to expand mental health care services to where they are needed the most.
New mental health services, particularly for people in the group known as the “missing middle”, and suicide prevention services, will be established.
The funding includes:
- $49.9 million to establish a network of new Head to Health adult mental health centres and satellites across Queensland with five new Head to Health centres and seven satellites. These new services will address gaps in the mental health system, providing more integrated, seamless mental health care for adults and older adults. These are in addition to Queensland’s first Head to Health centre that opened 20 January 2022 in Townsville
- $21.5 million to establish two new Head to Health Kids Hubs to improve access to multidisciplinary team care to children.
- $75.3 million to enhance headspace centres to increase access to multidisciplinary youth mental health services in Queensland, with the Commonwealth funding the establishment of 2 new headspace sites and Queensland providing funding for clinical in-reach into new and existing headspace sites.
- $78.6 million to expand and enhance existing universal aftercare services to support individuals following a suicide attempt and / or suicidal crisis.
- $9.4 million to ensure all people in Queensland who are bereaved or impacted by suicide can access postvention support services.
- $4.9 million to implement a Distress Intervention Trial Program to prevent and reduce suicidal behaviour.
- $10.3 million to improve perinatal mental health screening and enhance capture and reporting of national consistent perinatal mental health data.
- $10.5 million to support additional initiatives that address gaps in the system of care for the ‘missing middle’.
In addition to these initiatives, the Commonwealth and Queensland 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.
Everyday, millions of Australians come into contact with the mental health system. Almost half of all Australians experience mental ill-health in their lifetime, and around one in 5 people will experience a mental or behavioural condition each year.
Recent reports such as the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice, have highlighted the need to reform Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said that this landmark partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland, along with other Commonwealth support initiatives, will have a significant positive impact on the lives of many across the state, including young Queenslanders.
“It will help to save lives and protect lives.”
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said demand for mental health services has continued to rise.
“This is an important investment in mental health that will expand services to those most in need in Queensland,” said Minister D’Ath.
“This investment will complement the $1.8 billion that the Queensland Government spends to support mental health services every year.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said a key focus of the agreement would be helping to reduce the suicide rate in Queensland communities.
“As a result of this agreement, every Queenslander who is discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt will be provided at least three months of appropriate follow up care.
“We know the risk of suicide is greatest in the days and weeks following a previous suicide attempt, yet right now not everyone in this group receives follow up care. These people are amongst our most vulnerable and through this agreement we are committing to do everything we can to support them.”
The bilateral agreement will contribute to the landmark reform of the Australian mental health and suicide prevention system and forms part of the new National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement.
The Australian Government is delivering structural reform and real change in mental health and suicide prevention, and has invested almost $3 billion towards the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan since 2021-22.
This brings the estimated health portfolio expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2022–23 to a record high of $6.8 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/).