Australian Government Invests ‘Historic’ $2.3 Billion to Boost Mental Health Services

The Australian government last May 11 announced that it has invested an additional $2.3 billion in the 2021 federal budget to boost mental health services.

Of the funds, $298.1 million will go to suicide prevention efforts and $1.4 billion will be invested “to improve and expand accessible and effective mental health treatment for all Australians who need it,” including funding youth centers and developing up to 57 additional mental health treatment sites for adults.

The budget also allots $107 million to support vulnerable communities, such as indigenous peoples and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The budget further commits $202 million for mental health workforce and governance measures, including increasing the number of mental health practitioners and boosting their training “to ensure the system has the capacity and capability to provide quality and compassionate care.”

The investment comes as an initial response to the Productivity Commission’s report into the mental health sector, which was presented last June and said that the mental health system in the country “does not empower those who need it.”

“Australia’s mental health system is not ‘person-centered.’ It should be,” the report stated.

According to the government, the reforms that the budget will bring “are the first major step in what will be an ongoing effort to create a world-leading mental health and suicide prevention system.”

The additional funds brings the total estimated mental health budget to $6.3 billion in 2021 to 2022.

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