Governments commit $160 million to address gaps in the system

Lachlan Searle

Mental Health Australia has welcomed the news that state and territory governments will match the Commonwealth’s $80 million dollar commitment to fund services for people with mental illness at risk of being left without support as non-NDIS programs and services ceased.

The combined investment of $160 million will go towards the delivery of psychosocial support services for the thousands of Australians with severe mental illness who are ineligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“The news that all states and territories have signed bilateral agreements with the federal government is a very important step forward,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that leadership and investment from the federal government can bring states and territories to the table to get real action on closing gaps.”

While every year, some 780,000 Australians experience significant mental illness, of these only 64,000 will have a place in the NDIS. While the NDIS funds intensive, ongoing supports for those in the community with the most severe forms of mental illness, there has been significant concern at the lack of supports available for those in the broader community.

Mr Quinlan says “We still need a high functioning mental health system for those whose mental health issues to work alongside the NDIS. We know that without these services, provision of support inevitably falls to unpaid family members and loved ones”.

“Minister Hunt and the Turnbull Government are to be congratulated for responding to the concerns of the sector, consumers and carers, and for their willingness to work with states and territories - sometimes across the political divide - to gain solidarity on this important issue.”

It is also encouraging to see that the role of peer workers will be supported by this new funding.

“Peer workers, who are able to share the wisdom gained through their own experience of mental illness and recovery, are an emerging and important workforce,” said Mr Quinlan.

“At the intersection of these new measures with other recent investments in mental health research, lessons can be learned about how best to improve mental health and promote recovery to inform future investments.”

Media Contact - Lach Searle 0488 076 088

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mental health, federal budget, NDIS