Mental ill health is increasingly being recognised as a widespread and serious problem in Australia. To address this crucial issue, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced yesterday that the Australian government will be investing £47 million dollars in initiatives to improve mental health among young Australians.
The funding will target training delivery, the implementation of cutting-edge research findings into practice and improving general service provision in over 100 headspace centres across the country.
Mr Hunt asserted his commitment to ensuring the availability of information, advice and therapeutic support for young people: ‘I want our young people to know they are not alone on their journey, and that headspace is there to deliver quality frontline support and co-ordinate the right interventions for people who are at risk,’ he said.
The need for such spending is widely documented. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16–85 experience a mental illness in any given year, with 1 in 7 young Australians (aged 4–17) reporting a mental health condition.
A key feature of the new initiative is the employment of eight young people with direct, lived experience of mental health difficulties. These ambassadors will promote the importance of seeking support when experiencing difficulties and encouraging communities to improve their understanding of, and responses to, those with mental health issues.
Foundation CEO Jason Trethowan stated that the additional funding will ensure the security of headspace services until 2023. ‘This funding will ensure the continuation of the important early intervention work, and that young people’s voices are heard and acted upon,’ he said.
Volunteers at headspace centres across the country have expressed their support for the move, including Mount Gambier volunteer Ally Finnis, 22. She stated that ‘mental health is a significant issue’ and that the centre delivered vital work in her local community.
It is hoped that the funding will unify service providers and lead to improvements in the mental health of young Australians across the country.
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