Hon Judi Moylan

The Coalition’s Real Action Plan for Better Mental Health

The announcement of the Coalition’s Real Action Plan for Better Mental Health delivers a major increase in frontline services for mental health, delivering 20 new Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (based on the EPPIC model), 60 additional youth headspace sites and 800 acute and sub acute early intervention beds. The Early Psychosis Intervention Centres and headspace sites will be located in metropolitan and regional areas across Australia and mobile services will be provided in each state and territory. The number of headspace sites will increase from the current 30 to 90 and there will be a twenty-fold increase in Early Psychosis Intervention Centres – there is currently only one in Australia, located in metropolitan Melbourne. The provision of 800 acute and sub acute beds linked to the Early Psychosis Intervention Centres will take pressure off the nation’s public hospitals and emergency departments and provide better care to the patient in the community. Funding will be made available in the first year of Coalition Government with the Early Psychosis and Intervention Centres and headspace sites opening progressively through to 2013-14. Early psychosis intervention is recognised as the next priority in addressing Australia’s mental health challenges and was a key recommendation of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. Mental illness most often first manifests in teenagers and young adults in the age ranges of 12 to 24. Early intervention is critical to help these young people to deal with their illness and regain their health. The Coalition’s Real Action Plan for Better Mental Health will target these younger suffers of mental disorders. The first headspace sites were established by the Coalition in 2006 when it provided the single biggest investment ever of $1.9 billion for mental healthcare. These commitments will build substantially upon that precedent and up to an additional 250,000 young people will be helped through this expansion to headspace. Mental illness will in some way impact on almost half the Australian population over a lifetime. After cancer and heart disease it is the next major burden of disease within the country. When you see the impact that mental health has, not just in the community, but on a micro level, at a family level, there is a compelling reason to act. Without this direct action we will end up with more bureaucrats and another huge mess in our health system.

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