National Mental Health Commission Chair Lucy Brogden on the 2019 Federal Budget

at the National Mental Health Commission
we believe all Australians are entitled to live a contributing life where we can
be thriving not just surviving we have access to effective support and care and
treatment and something meaningful to do something to look forward to to have
connections to family friends and culture and importantly feel safe stable
and secure too many Australians are experiencing mental health conditions
conditions that are more often than not preventable and treatable
tragically suicide is the leading cause of death among 15 to 34 year-olds and
our First Nations people are taking their own lives at a rate twice that of
mainstream Australians since 2012 the Commission has been working with the
mental health and suicide prevention sector with lived-experience
clinicians academics and service providers to build a system that
supports all Australians right across the lifespan announcements in the 2019
federal budget reflect the hard work and advocacy of many people working to
ensure that the right programs are in the right place
and with the right resources and dollars to match there is much to be pleased
about in tonight’s budget but still much to do
the National Mental Health Commission will continue to lead renewal in our
sector by focusing on the real gaps that have been identified in our national
approach an integral part of this fresh approach to mental health is the
Commission being consulted and involved in the of significant programs
the Commission is committed to ensure that whatever the program the impact is
measurable and the services delivered to people and the places at most need there
are four new key takeouts from tonight’s budget where our country’s overall
mental health and well-being will be directly impacted a real-time account of
suicide underpins our renewed unified national focus and shortly I will
canvass what this means and how it will be utilised the largest unified
Australian government led national mental health workplace initiative will
be priceless for the 12.6 million working Australians and their families
the minister has also announced a right iliza plan and long-awaited dedicated
support for mothers through their maternity journey
and lastly a trial of eight hubs for adults with immediate mental health
needs based in our communities all valuable initiatives promising steps
however this is an evolving continuous journey which requires reassessment and
recommitment from policy makers the announcements in this budget need to be
assessed against what they mean and deliver for the mental health and
well-being of every single Australian and this underpins every aspect of our
lives the Commission is committed to ensuring that Australia’s focus on
mental health and well-being is dedicated to supporting every
Australians ability to live their best life as the lead agency of Australia’s
largest collective commitment to mental health and well-being in our workplaces
the Commission will coordinate a four year program for the mentally healthy
workplace alliance with funds from this year’s federal budget we have exciting
plans this funding builds on our years of
support and commitment from organisations who represent hundreds of
thousands of employers and employees this will provide strong networks and
resources for our national workforce to address the critical needs for anyone
who experiences mental ill health in their workplace tonight we saw real
evidence of Australia’s commitment to work together to achieve zero suicides
with the investment in the national suicide information initiative and we
applaud the government for responding to this key recommendation from Australia’s
first suicide prevention summit in December last year funding and
prioritizing the national suicide information initiative brings to
fruition more than a decade of work by many dedicated professionals across the
health and justice jurisdictions and the significant advocacy by parents and
loved ones who have lost people to suicide the national suicide information
initiative will nationalize the way in which Australia collects and reports
suicide and self-harm data its aim is to provide real-time reporting on this data
for the sector and for national reporting knowing more means being able
to be more agile in responding we can’t plan prevention or tweak interventions
if we don’t have the in-depth data the why the when and the where
for instance the Commission will work closely with the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare who will manage the significant project and any barriers in
jurisdictions and the various methodology of reporting and collecting
data will be addressed this data will be consolidated from multiple sources and
made available through a single portal in real time to anyone sadly there were
3128 suicide deaths registered in 2017 and suicide is the leading cause of
death for people aged 15 to 44 by age the suicide rate is the highest in our
elderly tragically this isn’t higher for young Indigenous Australians there is so
much work to do the second of tonight’s significant announcements is the
government’s investment in workplace mental health reform through the
National workplace initiative this recognizes the significance of 15
national business and mental health peak bodies unions regulators and
organizations working collaboratively through the mentally healthy workplace
alliance this program builds on existing best practice resources and tools to
help workplaces navigate develop implement and measure workplace mental
health it will provide resources and simple practical implementation guides
for workplaces to easily access at no cost through this we can profoundly
improve the lives of millions of Australians and their workplaces
workplaces are ideal settings to promote and protect mental health prevent
illness and suicide support recovery and increase participation for the many
people living with mental illness who want to work untreated mental health
conditions cost Australian employers almost thirteen billion dollars each
year there are 70 billion dollars in costs associated with addressing mental
health issues right across Australia from the beginning the Commission has
called for a whole of life approach to the investment in mental health a
redesigned national maternity peer support program which recognises the
critical need for dedicated mental health services and support for women
and their families during pregnancy childbirth and with newborns support for
the one in ten women who experience depression while
pregnant and the one-in-seven in the year following childbirth is crucial to
living the best contributing life the government’s further expansion of
australia’s youth headspace network will see an additional ten new headspace
sites and 20 new satellite services to be commissioned by the primary health
networks the commission is mindful of the connections and pathways headspace
centers support in each community and is supportive of rigorous reporting and
accountability to track the way in which young people access use and are
appropriately supported into health it’s clear the head space network needs to be
fully connected and accessible by young people without any delay or barriers and
should meet the increasing demand for mental health and well-being services by
our young people anything less and we have failed based on the insights that
inform the recent reforms to the youth headspace network the government has
also invested in a trial of an adult mental health care hub model in eight
areas across Australia any evidence-based program that provides
Australians with immediate access to psychiatric services in their community
the specialist mental health care without any impediment of operating time
resources and affordability is a step in the right direction
any appropriately funded and resource mental health initiative which aims to
take pressure off hospital emergency departments and be delivered in the
community must be applauded the new adult mental health hub service will
provide a wraparound multidisciplinary mental health service with the ability
to immediately refer to general health and other health services locally access
to quality mental health services and programs regardless of your age postcode
social or financial situation is a tenant of our health system our mental
health system needs to address the barriers to access and ensure that
affordability and geography and not barriers to wellness
we still have gaps in our current system and inconsistencies in the delivery of
connected support to all levels of need the commission is determined that all
these gaps are identified and rectified we will continue to work with
governments private and community health providers the mental health sector and
importantly consumers and carers to ensure that everyone regardless of where
or when their need occurs regardless in what setting they find themselves has
access to all the support and care they need to ensure they lead the best
contributing and mentally healthy life possible we have taken significant steps
forward tonight but there is still much to do and at the National Mental Health
Commission we look forward to working with you on the journey

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