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Greens launch plan for universal mental health system

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 23 Apr 2019

The Australian Greens have unveiled a plan to help ensure access to mental health services becomes universal and accessible to all Australians.

“Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century and access to treatments should be universal. People in our community should be able to get easy access to treatments in the same way they would for a broken leg or the flu,” Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“There has been under-investment in the mental health sector by successive governments, which has resulted in the system failing to meet the needs of thousands of Australians.

“Three quarters of mental health issues begin before the age of 25, it is critical that we support the mental health of children and young people.

“Over 250,000 people with severe mental health disorders will need some form of social support, yet the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is only funded to support 64,000 participants with psychosocial disability. The Greens will build a fully funded and adequately staffed NDIS and provide an additional $450 million for community psychosocial services to go towards bridging the gap in essential services for people who can’t access the NDIS.

“Support during a crisis period saves lives, and yet these services are too often fragmented and difficult to access and people fall through the cracks.

"Our plan includes investment in community-based assertive outreach programs, which is a range of clinical and non-clinical targeted supports for individuals who have attempted suicide, with dedicated funding for First Nations peoples.

“1 in 6 working age people are living with mental illness. Mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness and long term work incapacity in the developed world. The Greens will help businesses to tailor appropriate intervention strategies to meet the needs of their workplace.

“All health services should be evaluated and funding should be provided in a transparent way, which we are not seeing at the moment. It’s not just a matter of throwing money at an issue, funding needs to be properly targeted and evaluated so there is transparency around who is getting funding and whether outcomes are being achieved.”

The Greens will:

 1. Make services effective, transparent and accessible. 

2. Fund prevention and early intervention through $500 million in funding over the next decade for communities to implement assertive outreach programs, providing $25 million for a four year trial of 50,000 children and young people to each access 10 group sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and fund online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for a total of one million users.

3. Support people with severe mental ill health by building a fully funded and adequately staffed NDIS and provide an additional $450 million for community psychosocial services. 

4. Build mentally healthy workplaces through providing $604 million over the decade for mental health workplace interventions in smaller businesses and $50 million per year for three years for mental health interventions in larger businesses and expanding the existing Individual Placement and Support trial.

5. Increase the numbers of peer workers by providing $166 million to fund a two-year national peer workforce trial with 1,000 places.

6. Reduce mental health stigma through an anti-stigma campaign involving those with lived experience.

The fully policy can be found here

Media Contact

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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