News

Federal Government announces massive funding boost for mental health


Amanda Lyons


16/01/2019 12:17:41 PM

A record $1.45 billion and a change in the funding model gives PHNs greater control in provision of services tailored to community needs.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government’s boost in mental health funding is a sign of its support for Australians’ mental health. (Image: Lukas Coch)
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government’s boost in mental health funding is a sign of its support for Australians’ mental health. (Image: Lukas Coch)

‘The Government has an ongoing commitment to supporting the mental health of Australians,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
 
‘This funding will ensure that the mental health dollar lands as close as possible to people living with mental illness, and provides them with the specific support they need, when they need it.’
 
The $1.45 billion funding boost, which will take effect from July of this year until 2021–22, represents $170 million more than the funding provided in the previous years.
 
In addition to the spending, the Government is also changing the structure of the funding model. The money will be provided to Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs), which will then decide the best way to allocate the funding based on the mental health needs of their communities.
 
‘It is important that services are tailored to meet the specific needs of the local population,’ Minister Hunt said.
 
‘The types of health services needed in metropolitan communities, for example, differ dramatically from those of communities in remote and regional areas. PHNs play a key role in providing the right services in the right place and at the right time.’
 
Under the existing model, money is provided on the basis of year-long contracts requiring an annual re-tendering process. But, from July of this year, the funding period will be extended to three years. Each year, funding outcomes will be assessed against performance measures agreed to by the PHN and, if these measures are met, funding will be extended for another year.
 
‘The new funding process will dramatically improve [PHNs’] ability to ensure that services can be commissioned well in advance at any point in time, and provide greater funding certainty for the community-based mental health sector,’ Minister Hunt said.
 
‘This will particularly benefit those living in rural and remote areas, where staffing shortages due to employment uncertainty have historically reduced access to mental health services.’
 
The Federal Government has estimated the $1.45 billion will include:

  • $177 million for mental health nurses
  • $77 million for suicide prevention, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide
  • $74 million for the mental health of those in residential aged care
  • $89 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health
  • $617 million for youth mental health, including headspace
  • $399 million for psychological therapies for hard-to-reach populations.



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