New Mental Health Report Released

New Mental Health Report Released

09 May 2013

A new report by private health insurer Medibank has estimated the overall cost of supporting people with mental illness in Australia at $28.6 billion per year.

The Medibank/Nous Group report, launched by Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler in Melbourne today, says that while substantial funding is being directed at mental health, the system needs to be better coordinated.

Mr Butler said the report is right in identifying the need to make our service system more joined up and simple to navigate for people with mental illness.

People with mental illness and their families have enough on their hands without having to fight for decent services, Mr Butler said.

In 2010-11 we heard from people across Australia who were crying out for a national approach to mental health in Australia and we responded with a $2.2 billion National Mental Health Reform package to address these issues, Mr Butler said.

These reforms are beginning to have an impact on the ground with major aspects of the reforms rolling out this year.

Mr Butler said one of the centrepieces of the reform package was the $550 million Partners in Recovery program which aims to pull together services like income support, housing, employment and medical care, which can often lack coordination, for 24,000 Australians with the severe and chronic mental illness.

Partners in Recovery responds to precisely the issues being raised in this report and the rubber is about to hit the road on this important new service with preferred tenderers having been selected last month and services being rolled out this year.

We have also just launched Australias first ever online virtual mental health clinic MindSpot which is now providing free online therapy with trained health professionals right around the country.

These new reforms add to programs already established like headspace youth mental health services increased service provision under the Access to Allied Psychological Services Program (ATAPS), MindMatters, Kids Matter and many others.

Mr Butler said state and territory governments remain principally responsible for mental health services in Australia and it was important to engage the states on these issues.

We need to continue to demand better support for people with mental illness through the state-based service system, Mr Butler said.

For more information contact the Ministers Office on 02 6277 7280