Today is World Mental Health Day. A day to reflect on our mental health and wellbeing, to reach out to our loved ones who may need support and to raise awareness of this important issue.
The lives of many Australians have been turned upside down since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world.
It has been a challenging time and it’s never been more important to prioritise our physical health by getting vaccinated, but also investing time into our mental health and wellbeing.
One in every five Australians — about four million people — suffers from a mental illness in a given year, and almost half the population has suffered a mental disorder at some time in their life.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day - Mental health care for all: let's make it a reality - is about taking action to ensure that everyone has access to mental health services, especially as we find ourselves on the other side of the pandemic.
In line with this mission, since March 2020, the Government has stepped up to provide more than $500 million additional funding to ensure Australians have the mental health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes rolling out telehealth to enable mental health treatment from home and limit risks to physical health, establishing the national Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service operated by Beyond Blue, and providing funding to scale up support services such as Lifeline and Kids Helpline.
Through the National Pandemic Mental Health and Wellbeing Response Plan, the Government has also delivered vital funding for vulnerable groups such as older Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders, students and young Australians, LGBTIQA+ Australians and those affected by eating disorders and perinatal depression and anxiety.
Through $79.4 million additional funding to Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, where COVID-19 cases remain high and lockdowns have been extended, the Government has also rapidly rolled out 26 pop-up mental health treatment centres to provide easy access to free, multidisciplinary mental health care.
In addition, in the 2021-22 Budget, the Morrison Government invested a record $2.3 billion in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform. This takes mental health funding to an estimated $6.5 billion in 2021-22 – doubling since 2012-13.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said mental health and suicide prevention was one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.
“We have embarked on system wide reform to ensure Australia’s mental health system is more compassionate, accessible and affordable,” Minister Hunt said.
“To achieve this, we are investing in additional mental health services no matter who you are, what your circumstances or where you live in Australia.”
“This includes $820 million to establish a national network of adult, child and youth mental health treatment centres.”
Operating under a ‘no wrong door approach’, these new services will ensure the delivery of easy to access, high quality, person-centred treatment and supports across the mental health care system, in our cities, regions and rural areas, providing stigma-free and compassionate care.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said all Australians should be able to receive compassionate and effective mental health care.
“That is why our Government is prioritising investment for all Australians, including early intervention supports and preventive measures for migrants and culturally and linguistically diverse people,”
“We are also investing in the growth and upskilling of the mental health and suicide prevention workforce, who are the most critical component of Australia’s mental health system, and do a fantastic job.”
On World Mental Health Day, the Morrison Government reiterates our thanks to frontline health care workers and mental health and suicide prevention workers for their tireless commitment.
We are committed to working towards zero suicides and transforming the mental health system, to ensure that all Australians can access the right care whenever and wherever they need.
Help is available so please reach out for support. You don’t have to suffer alone.
Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service anytime via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
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 (www.headtohealth.gov.au).
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.