D. COVID-19 and bushfires mental health related funding

The tables below provide an indicative list of Australian Government funding announcements aimed at enhancing mental health services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019-20 bushfires.

Mental health funding announced in response to COVID-19

Date
Funding details
Amount
15 May 2020
$7.3 million for data research and modelling on the mental health impacts of COVID19 and suicide prevention research.
$29.5 million to reach vulnerable groups such as older Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, carers of people with mental illness, and Indigenous communities.
$0.9 million for connected mental health services.
$10.4 million for a national mental health communications campaign.1
$48.1 million
19 May 2021
$24 million to support Kids Helpline operations over the next four years, and a further $2.8 million to meet the immediate demand caused by the pandemic.2
$26.8 million
24 June 2021
$1.35 million grant to the Australian National University for their project, Co-creating safe space, which will examine the effectiveness of ‘safe space’ models in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW) as alternatives to presenting to a hospital emergency department.3
$1.35 million
24 June 2021
$1.28 million grant to the University of Western Australia (WA) for their project, Expand WA, which will seek to improve aftercare services among young people aged 10 to 17 who present to hospital with self-harm or suicidal crisis.4
$1.28 million
13 July 2021
$3.5 million to headspace for additional youth support, with a particular focus on support for year 11 and 12 students, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
$1.5 million to Lifeline to boost crisis counselling and increase community engagement.
$1.5 million to Sonder to enhance mental health support for those in mandatory isolation, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
$4 million to Primary Health Networks (PHNs): $2 million to boost commissioned mental health services, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and $2 million to provide targeted support and to work with CALD communities and leaders in impacted areas.
$500,000 for a communications campaign to increase awareness of available mental health services and support, aimed at CALD communities.
$500,000 to Beyond Blue for services and to increase community engagement with NSW residents.
$300,000 to Kids Helpline to extend online wellbeing sessions into secondary schools.
$300,000 to the Butterfly Foundation to provide additional support for young people with, or at risk of, an eating disorder and their carers.
$150,000 to the Gidget Foundation to boost services for parents suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety.5
$12.25 million
18 July 2021
To support young Australians in Victoria, ensuring they can access mental health support if and when they need it during lockdown.6
$3 million
8 August 2021
To establish 10 Head to Health pop up mental health support sites for areas currently facing extended COVID-19 restrictions in and around Greater Sydney and to extend the operation of at least 12 clinics in Victoria until 30 June 2022.7
$17.7 million
9 August 2021
$3 million towards a surge workforce of clinicians in headspace services across Victoria.8
$3 million
16 August 2021
$27.3 million to implement culturally-sensitive, co-designed aftercare services, for individuals following a suicide attempt or suicidal crisis. These will be delivered across Australia at a regional level, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations will be preferred service providers.
$23.8 million to establish regional suicide prevention networks across each state and territory.
$16.6 million will be provided to establish and evaluate a new culturally appropriate 24/7 crisis line, delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This will be a partnership between to Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia and Lifeline.9
$79 million
16 September 2021
$15 million over three years to the National Wellbeing Alliance Pty Ltd to deliver mental health first aid training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.10
$15 million
21 September 2021
$1.6 million to establish a Head to Health Pop-Up mental health clinic in the ACT and fast track the rollout of a phone Intake, Assessment and Referral support service.
$400,000 to enhance eating disorder services in the ACT, including funding to boost clinical services at headspace and the Head to Health hub to provide additional support for young people with, or at risk of, an eating disorder and targeted e-therapy support.
$320,000 to headspace for additional youth support, to assist headspace services with the surge in demand experienced during the lockdown.
$150,000 to CatholicCare to support the Stepping Stones program for children aged 12 and under who have suffered trauma.
$100,000 to Meridian ACT to boost support services for LGBTIQ+ people.11
$2.5 million
Source: See footnotes 1 - 11

Mental health bushfire support measures

Measure
Description
Allocation
Community Connectedness and Recovery grants
Primary Health Networks are administering Community Connectedness and recovery grants of up to $10,000 to fund grass-roots level activities to help mental health and healing activities after the bushfires.
$2.7 million
Immediate counselling
Free distress and trauma counselling sessions are available for individuals and families and emergency services personnel affected by bushfires.
$10.5 million
Bushfire Trauma Response Coordinator
Bushfire Trauma Response Coordinators are a single point of contact for individuals and communities to ensure the right mental health supports are offered in the right place at the right time.
$3.2 million
Expansion of mental health services
Primary Health Networks in bushfire affected regions were funded to commission additional mental health services to ensure services were available to meet increased demand.
$4.2 million
Community Wellbeing and Participation
This funding provides additional funding to Primary Health Networks, to boost localised support for bushfire affected individuals to ensure their emotional and mental wellbeing.
*This was additional funding announced on 11 May 2020
$13.5 million*
Boost to National School Chaplaincy Program
This measure boosted funding provided by the Australian Government to state and territory governments under the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) in bushfire affected schools.
$2 million
Be You Bushfire Response program
Additional funding to Beyond Blue to provide mental health support to children and young people through the Be You program in schools and early childhood services in bushfire-affected communities.
$8 million
National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework
The National Mental Health Commission is leading the development of the national framework to guide a coordinated approach to support mental health and wellbeing in the context of natural disasters.
$0.5 million
Training in trauma informed care and psychological first aid
Training in trauma informed care and psychological first aid for frontline emergency services staff, GPs [general practitioners], pharmacists and psychologists. Training is evidence based and delivered by specialist organisations (Phoenix Australia, Australian Psychological Society and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia) with expertise in trauma informed care.
$2.0 million
Bushfire Recovery Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
Bushfire affected individuals, families and emergency personnel will be eligible to receive Medicare Rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through eligible GPs, psychologists, social workers or occupational therapists. Ongoing psychological support, including telehealth.
$29.6 million
Supports for emergency services workers and their families
To ensure workers and their families are receiving the necessary support to prevent and treat the effects of trauma, both now and after the immediate fire threat has passed, the Government is funding specialist organisations, the Black Dog Institute and Fortem Australia, to provide PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] support services to emergency services workers (and their immediate families).
$15.9 million
Additional funding for headspace*
Provided additional funding for headspace centres in fire impacted areas.
$7.4 million
(Department of Health funding, not NBRF [National Bushfire Recovery Fund])
Lifeline 13HELP and Kids Helpline
Funding provided to support Lifeline Australia to establish a dedicated helpline (13HELP) for individuals impacted by the bushfires, and boost the capacity of the Kids Helpline service.
$2 million
(Department of Health funding, not NBRF)
Source: Department of Home Affairs, Submission 175, Appendix A, page [7].

  • 1
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, ‘COVID-19: $48.1 Million for National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan’, Media Release, 15 May 2020.
  • 2
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, ‘$26.8 million investment to support young Australians’, Joint Media Release, 19 May 2021.
  • 3
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, ‘Suicide Prevention Research Grants to Improve Crisis Response’, Joint Media Release, 24 June 2021.
  • 4
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, ‘Suicide Prevention Research Grants to Improve Crisis Response’, Joint Media Release, 24 June 2021.
  • 5
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, ‘COVID-19 Mental Health Boost for New South Wales’, Media Release, 13 July 2021.
  • 6
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, ‘More support for youth mental health in Victoria’, Media Release, 18 July 2021.
  • 7
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, ‘Mental health clinics to support Australians in lockdown in NSW and VIC’, Media Release, 8 August 2021.
  • 8
    The Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and the Hon Luke Howarth MP, Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, ‘Supporting young Australians through COVID-19 lockdowns’, Joint Media Release, 9 August 2021.
  • 9
    The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians and the Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, ’Young Indigenous Australians “Take a Step” for Mental Health’, Joint Media Release, 16 August 2021.
  • 10
    The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, ‘$15 million grant to support Indigenous Mental Health First Aid Training to 2024’, Media Release, 16 September 2021.
  • 11
    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, ‘COVID-19 mental health boost for the ACT’, Media Release, 21 September 2021.

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