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Mental Health Boost Welcomed by Member for Barker

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Member for Barker Tony Pasin has welcomed the Federal Government's additional $48.1 million investment in its 'Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan'.

This month's announcement coincides with Mental Health Week and builds on approximately $500 million for mental health and suicide prevention unveiled this year, including $64 million for suicide prevention, $74 million for preventative mental health services, and a significant proportion of the $669 million telehealth package to support MBS subsidised treatments provided by GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Tony Pasin said the Government recognises many South Australians are experiencing fear, anxiety, loneliness, financial and family stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain it.

“Supporting mental health and suicide prevention remains one of the Government’s highest priorities,” Mr Pasin said.

The funding package supports the three immediate priorities of the Plan; 1. data and modelling, 2. outreach and 3. connectivity.

“We will be focusing on the need to help people as early as possible if they are feeling the impacts of the pandemic, and make sure that people in need of support get the right care at the right time,” Mr Pasin said.

A $2.6 million investment will boost national capability in monitoring, anticipating and reacting to the mental health impacts of the pandemic. This will be used to enhance and expand the National Self-harm and Suicide Monitoring System that was established at a cost of $15 million over three years in the 2019-20 Budget, and will support the provision of expert guidance for proactive decision making in mental health service deployment.

$4.7 million will be provided to continue investment in suicide prevention research through the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund administered by Suicide Prevention Australia, and to support the work of the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce.

“The Plan also recognises that a number of groups have been disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic, and that it is essential for all jurisdictions to support care in homes, workplaces and schools,” said Mr Pasin.

Older Australians, people with ongoing mental illness, Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities will receive targeted funding for additional support.

“Our Government is making record investments in mental health services and support – with expenditure estimated to be $5.2 billion this year alone,” Mr Pasin said.

Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels