The Government will improve the mental health system by increasing access to services for young people, expanding the successful Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) model, building the capacity of the mental health system and improving services for people with severe mental illness.
Mental Health (PDF 63 KB)
How will the new services for young people work?
How will we build capacity in the system?
How will services for people with severe mental illness be improved?
What has the Australian Government done so far to improve the mental health system?
Young Australians are much more likely to suffer from mental illness. Many young people receive inadequate treatment or fall through gaps in the service system.
Many people with severe mental illness experience a ‘revolving door’ of repeated crisis and admission to hospital, and have inconsistent access to care.
The Australian Government is taking action through its National Health and Hospitals Network.
The Government will improve the mental health system by:
- immediately increasing access to services for young people with a $78.8 million investment in headspace youth friendly services and extra funding for the existing headspace sites
- providing $25.5 million to expand the successful Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) model
- building the capacity of the mental health care system, including providing $13 million for more mental health nurses
- improving services for people with severe mental illness by extending the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program to deliver new packages of flexible and comprehensive care for people with severe mental illness being managed in the community ($58.5 million).
How will the new services for young people work?$78.8 million over four years will deliver up to 30 new headspace youth friendly services and extra funding for the existing 30 headspace sites. As part of this new investment up to 10 sites which are exceptionally busy or are in rural or remote areas will receive a funding top up; core funding for national communication and coordination activities will increase; and funding will be available per year to improve telephone and web-based services for young people.
This expansion is expected to provide support and early intervention services to about 20,000 more young people each year once all new sites are fully established.
$25.5 million over four years together with state contributions will expand the successful Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) model beyond Victoria to new locations as a best practice ‘standard’ of care. With state contributions, this will benefit up to 3,500 young people aged between 16 and 25 years and their families with improved detection of and earlier treatment and holistic support for early psychosis, which will reduce their risk of homelessness and help with study and/or job stability.
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How will we build capacity in the system?As part of the establishment of the National Health and Hospitals Network, the Australian Government will take full funding and policy responsibility for primary health care services currently funded by State governments. This will include responsibility for primary mental health care services which target the more common mild to moderate disorders such as anxiety and depression. Over time, the Government will also seek to take greater policy and funding leadership for specialist community mental health services for people with severe mental illness.
Primary health care organisations (Medicare Locals) will improve local integration of primary mental health care services. They will work with Local Hospital Networks to improve clinical pathways for people with mental health needs. headspace sites will work with their Medicare Local to ensure strong referral pathways and care coordination.
$13 million over two years will also increase the number of mental health nurses to help provide more flexible services in the community and help provide coordinated clinical care to people with severe mental illness. This investment will increase the number of nurses supported by the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program by 136 and provide an estimated 11,700 extra services.
How will services for people with severe mental illness be improved?An extension of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program will deliver new packages of coordinated care for people with severe mental illness being managed in primary care.
Funding of $58.5 million over four years will fund care packages for up to 25,000 people over that period.
Medicare Locals, once established, will be the fundholders for these packages of care, delivered using well established and successful ATAPS infrastructure and workforce. Individuals would be assessed by their GP or psychiatrists for the level of care required. A multidisciplinary care plan would be developed to include clinical services (psychological therapy and clinical case management such as those provided by a mental health nurse, psychologist or allied health professional) and other care services such social rehabilitation and social support services.
Services for people with severe mental illness will also be improved by the Government’s $1.6 billion investment to expand sub-acute care facilities. This package includes provision of services that target older people in hospital, people with mental illness and other groups who may experience difficulty in transitioning from acute to community or residential care. In this way this new investment will support extra community-based residential mental health beds as an alternative to hospitalisation and to avoid readmission.
What has the Australian Government done so far to improve the mental health system?Since 2007, the Government has:
- invested $55 million in a National Perinatal Depression Plan
- consolidated the National Mental Health Initiative, headspace, as an independent company providing support to 30 youth friendly shopfronts across the country
- invested up to $91 million from 2006-07 to 2012-13 under the Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas Program
- invested $7.5 million up to June 2010 for mental health support for people impacted by the Victorian bushfires
- invested $12.2 million over three years to 2011-12 for the Kidsmatter primary school program to improve mental health awareness and prevention
- invested in telephone and web-based counselling and resources for young people including through Inspire: Reachout and the Kids Helpline ($3.1 million and $7.7 million respectively to 2010-11)
- invested $19.2 million over two years to 2011 for the second phase of the Support for Day to Day Living program; and $284.8 million to 2011 for the Personal Helpers and Mentors program. These programs provide community support and some service coordination to people with severe mental illness.
The costs of these initiatives reflect the total new program costs to the Government.
Further information on the National Health and Hospitals Network is at www.yourhealth.gov.au back to top
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