Govt boosts mental health funding

school kids at assembly

The Turnbull Government will invest $73 million in two new mental health programs

The two programs, announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Michael Sukkar, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, are aimed at ensuring Australian children and young people receive the support they need during their school years.

Under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program, training and resources on mental health issues will be provided to people who regularly interact with pre-schoolers, primary and high school aged children.

This includes teachers, school communities, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The two announced the funding today during a visit to Vermont Secondary College in Melbourne with beyondblue Chair Jeff Kennett AC and headspace CEO Jason Trethowan.

beyondblue will partner with headspace and Early Childhood Australia to run a $52.6 million program which will provide tools for teachers to support kids with mental health concerns, and provide resources for students to help them to deal with any challenges they may be going through.

headspace will also provide rapid response services with the delivery of direct intervention in instances where self-harm is occurring amongst students.

Should a suicide occur within the school or the local community, the program will also provide the opportunity for teachers to conduct specialist counselling services supported by beyondblue and headspace.

“People of all ages can be affected by mental health – either directly themselves or because someone close to them might be suffering. It can impact even our youngest Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

“It’s important schools have the resources and training to deal with mental health issues, so they can support the individuals impacted and also the broader community.

“This might include training teachers on how to support a student going through a difficult time, or what to say to a student who has lost a parent.”

These positive initiatives will help support the well-being and mental health of our kids and critically, provide a rapid response where schools and communities are facing challenges.

“Looking after the mental health of our young people is an absolute priority for the Turnbull Government,” Mr Sukkar said.

In addition to support for teachers and school communities, Emerging Minds will deliver a $20.5 million program to support clinical and non-clinical professionals who work with children to identify, support and refer children at risk of mental health difficulties and promote resilience building.

This program will be developed and implemented in partnership with the Parenting Research Centre, the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

“Our vision is to create resilient early childhood and school communities where every child, adolescent, principal, teacher, worker, parent and guardian can achieve their best mental health,” Mr Kennett said.

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