In this year’s Federal Budget, an additional 547 million dollars has been added to fund mental health and suicide prevention services.
Almost 3 billion dollars has been provided to mental health support when combined with last year’s 2.3 billion dollars in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
The Treasurer of Australia, Josh Frydenberg, delivered the Federal Budget on Tuesday night announcing 14.8 million dollars for increased headspace services in schools and 63.6 million dollars in funding for digital mental health services. He said combating suicide is a national priority.
“No government has invested more in mental health services,” said Frydenberg.
The budget will also benefit services such as Lifeline, which is set to receive 52.3 million dollars. Another 42.7 million will be spent on preventing suicide.
The Federal Budget will provide 4 million dollars for suicide prevention research.
According to the Department of Health, 1 in 4 Australians experiences poor mental health every year and suicide is the leading cause of death amongst people aged 15-44.
However, people in the mental health workforce are disappointed that wages and understaffing of mental health workers were not discussed.
President of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), Tamara Cavenett, says there was a lack of planning in this year’s Federal Budget.
“The government is only meeting 35 percent of their workforce target while one in three psychologists are unable to take on new patients. Before the pandemic, it was 1 in 100,” she said.
Cavenett is disappointed at the lack of accessibility for young people and lower-income citizens.
“Despite record demand to see a psychologist and worsening cost of living pressure, the budget fails to reduce gap fees for people in crisis and contemplating suicide,” she said.
“We needed a budget that lowered gap fees and got psychologists into schools and the regions. Sadly, the opportunity has been missed.”