Young Australians seeking help for depression and anxiety will get further assistance with an injection of more than $100 million into school mental health programs and a range of new Headspace centres.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the initiatives would help schools and communities to support the wellbeing and mental health of Australian kids and respond to personal and community challenges.
“We know that around 4 million Australians experience a mental health condition every year,” he said.
“People of all ages can be affected, either directly themselves or because someone close to them might be suffering and even young children can be deeply affected.
“Programs for beyondblue, Headspace, Origin and Kids Helpline and Reach Out and others are all about ensuring that we provide assistance before the problems emerge and when they do emerge there are avenues for treatment and avenues for people to seek emergency help.”
More than $45 million of the funding injection will go to beyondblue for its integrated school-based Mental Health in Education initiative.
It is a new national program to encourage good mental health and wellbeing practices for Australian children from early learning centres to the end of secondary school.
It will give school principals, parents and carers across the education spectrum access to a range of face-to-face or online mental health programs.
The aim of the mental health in education program is to give parents and educators the tools to recognise the signs of mental health challenges and deal with them before the symptoms become acute.
Teachers will be trained to identify early warning signs and where to access help.
The program is currently being developed and will be launched in August 2018.
New early intervention centres
More Headspace centres will be set up across Australia, with a funding boost of $30 million.
These centres, developed by psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry, provide early intervention mental health services for people aged 12-25, as well as work and study support, and alcohol and drug services.
One in four young people have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months — a higher prevalence than all other age groups.
Kids Helpline, ReachOut, Suicide Callback Service and QLife will receive almost $2 million over two years for telephone, webchat and online mental health help.
“The extension of funding announced for these key child and youth mental health initiatives will provide a stable funding base for the great work done by these organisations,” Mr Hunt said.