Coalition announces $2.3bn mental health funding boost ahead of 2021 budget’s release | Australian budget 2021

Australians in need of mental health support are set to benefit from a $2.3bn package included in the federal budget.

The new funding will be spent over the next four years, adding to major mental health commitments already made during the Black Summer bushfires and Covid-19 pandemic. The plan will be built on five key pillars.

Almost $250m will be spent on prevention and early intervention, including the creation of an online platform to provide professional counselling, support and referrals. Another $300m will be allocated to suicide prevention.

For the first time, in partnership with the states and territories, the government will fund “after care” for every Australian discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt.

At least $1.4bn will go towards child, youth and adult mental health treatment centres.

Vulnerable communities will receive $107m in extra support, with money set aside to update a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy.

And $202m will be spent boosting workforces and improving governance. Scholarships will be offered to nurses, psychologists and allied health practitioners working in mental health.

The federal government has framed the extra investment as the first phase of its response to a Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health, as well as a report delivered by the national suicide prevention adviser.

The funding injection should bring the government’s mental health spending to about $6.3bn in the next financial year.

The Coalition is keen to point out the projected figure is 90% higher than when Labor was last in power.

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