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Greens commit $1.1b as old parties neglect mental health

Media Release
Penny Wright 27 Aug 2013

The Australian Greens' multi-million dollar commitment boosting mental health research, primary care and suicide prevention will ensure all Australians can access quality care, say Senator Penny Wright and ACT Senate candidate Simon Sheikh.

Today's announcement of a further $547.4 million for mental health services brings the total of Australian Greens' mental health policy commitments to $1.1 billion, following the rural mental health package announced last week.

"Almost half of all Australians will experience mental ill-health at some point in their lives, yet the Australian Greens are the only ones talking about mental health in this election," said spokesperson for mental health, Senator Wright.

"Our mental health system has been underfunded for too long. Poor mental health can affect every area of a person's life, including education and employment, so efficient, caring and empowering mental health care also makes economic sense."

New initiatives announced by the Australian Greens today include:

  • $70 million a year to the Mental Health Nurses incentive program to promote early intervention and relieve the pressure on emergency services
  • $47.2 million a year to reinstate the option of a further six sessions under the Better Access initiative for people with exceptional needs to access effective and cost-efficient treatment
  • $150 million over three years to establish a National Institute for Mental Illness Research
  • $38.3 million for a national suicide prevention campaign

Australian Greens ACT senate candidate Simon Sheikh said he had always been passionate about getting more funding more mental health services and improving their accessibility to all Australians.

"Of my time at GetUp, securing additional funding for mental health reform is one of collective victories we shared that I am most proud of," Mr Sheikh said.

"Having grown up as carer for my mum who was mentally ill, I know what a difference the funding commitments we Greens are announcing today will make to so many peoples' lives. 

"A strong, fair and healthy community relies on investment in mental health research and accessible and affordable services." 

Read more about the Australian Greens' announcement on mental health funding here: http://greensmps.org.au/quality-mental-health-care.

 

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