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Greens launch transformative youth mental health policy

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 18 Apr 2019

The Australian Greens have unveiled a comprehensive suite of policies that will support young Australians to access high quality mental health services wherever they live.

“Around one in four young people have a mental health condition. Of those who develop a mental health condition in their lifetime, 50% do so before they are 14, and 75% before they are 25. That’s why the Greens are strongly committed to early intervention and prevention,” Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health Senator Rachel Siewert said.

"Our plan includes support for more young people to become peer workers through providing 1,000 places as part of our national peer workforce trial as well as opportunities for young people to train as peer workers through our free TAFE initiative.

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

“And let’s be real. Living in poverty is a contributor to poor mental health and a deterioration in mental health conditions. If either party is serious about caring for our younger generations they would raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week immediately.

“How can the Government say that there will be ‘action’ on mental health when their social services policy is to punish people on income support and push them further into poverty, causing stress and anxiety.”

Associate Professor of Medicine at Sydney University, John Mendoza endoresed the Greens policy and said: 

"I’m very pleased to see this substantial investment in mental health and particularly youth mental health. There are some welcome innovations and a focus on improving the quality of youth mental health services.

“As we saw in Senate Estimates just the day before the Prime Minister called the election last week, the Greens were asking the hard questions about waiting lists for headspace and the time it takes to get to care. The commitment here to improve accountability and the effectiveness of youth mental health services is critical.

“I’m also pleased to see the innovative elements of this package – the commitment to build a peer workforce and the very significant expansion of the specialist employment support for young people who are having difficulty finding and maintaining a job. Getting a job and staying in a job are part of recovering from a mental illness.

"More broadly, the initiatives the Greens have announced on tackling inequality in our communities, will go a long way to dampening the pressure that is driving disadvantage and despair among many young people.”

Senator Jordon Steele-John Greens spokesperson on Youth said:

“Ours is a generation in the grips of a mental health crisis. All of us know someone who is struggling with mental health issues, and too many of us know someone who has lost that battle.

“It is time to treat these issues with the urgency that our lives and health deserve, and that young people demand. We need services that are youth driven and developed, evidence-based and that involve young people at all stages of design and delivery.”

The Greens will:

1. Make services effective, transparent and accessible

2. Improve access to online services

3. Support young people to help other young people with peer to peer services through providing 1,000 places for peer to peer workers and opportunities for young people to train as peer workers through our free TAFE initiative. 

4. Improve services for young people in crisis by providing $250 million over four years in grant funding for community-based assertive outreach programs targeted at children and young people and improve access to face-to-face services by providing $25 million over the next four years for a trial of 50,000 children and young adults to each access 10 group sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. 

5. Support young people in the workplace by expanding the Individual Placement and Support trial.

6. Reduce mental health stigma by investing $10 million in a youth mental health stigma strategy.

The full policy can be found here

Media Contact

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie (Siewert): 0418 401 180
Tim Oliver (Steele-John): 0448 316 387

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