headspace welcomes opportunity for mental health reform and action to support the country’s most vulnerable

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation welcomes the release of two important reports into Australia’s mental health system made this week by the Prime Minister. The Productivity Commission’s Final Report into Mental Health has been broadly welcomed by headspace with both this report and the National Suicide Prevention Adviser's Interim Advice offering a once in a generation opportunity to deliver meaningful reform within Australia’s mental health system.

The Prime Minister recognised that mental health costs Australia $200 billion every year, and much of this cost relates to young people’s lost opportunities when they disengage from education and work due to mental health issues.

The Productivity Commission outlined that the central aim for reform should be on achieving a person-centric system with a focus on early intervention and prevention, and that supports for families and young children will play an important role in improving mental health for young people.

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan welcomed a number of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations that will have a positive impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s promising to see the Report include crucial supports for young people and we welcome a number of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, including items such as an extension of Individual Placement and Support and early intervention services for young people.

“I clearly heard at the launch the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to addressing the Federal and State government divide when it comes to people missing out on care in a widening gap between primary and tertiary care services. The Prime Minister referred to this as the ‘Missing Middle’ and a grey zone for governments.”

The National Suicide Prevention Adviser's Interim Advice includes 13 ‘in principle’ recommendations, and a national suicide prevention model outlining the components of the recommended whole-of-government approach.

“We were pleased to see the recommendation for suicide prevention to be a whole-of-government governance priority, with a recommendation for a workforce strategy and development of a whole-of-government National Suicide Prevention Strategy by 2021.

“Young people are recognised as being disproportionately impacted by suicide and so it is encouraging to see the Interim Advice include a recommendation for an equity approach that takes this into consideration for all suicide prevention planning.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government in its development of a response to these reports. While we welcome structural reform to bring more accountability and transparency to mental health system investments, it’s vital for the 2021 Federal Budget to deliver a comprehensive response to the challenges young Australians face over the next decade”. Trethowan said.

headspace also welcomes the Government’s announced extensions of the Beyond Blue school-based mental health program, Be You initiative for two years from 2021–22, through an additional investment of $46 million and $53 million to be provided to continue the Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program at 14 different headspace centres.

The Productivity Commission’s Final Report into Mental Health is available here: https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/mental-health/report

 The National Suicide Prevention Adviser's Interim Advice is available here: https://lifeinmind.org.au/interim-advice


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