The mentally ill are the most invisible of sufferers in our society and this has often been reflected in government policy and funding.
Having worked for years at a grassroots level with the chronically mentally ill, there are few issues I feel more strongly about than increasing support for people with mental illness, their families and those who care for and treat them.
Keep reading to see what Treasurer Wayne Swan said about his mental health funding initiatives in tonight’s 2011 federal budget speech.
And check some early response to the announcement in this report from the ABC. It qualifies Mr Swan’s announcement by showing that the funding is slow to be rolled out and there will be other losses along the way.
‘Mr Speaker, tonight I am particularly proud to announce new improvements to mental health services.
Untreated mental illness can lead to disengagement, unemployment, family breakdown, substance abuse, homelessness and suicide.
We demonstrate our commitment to addressing mental illness by making the room in a tight budget for $1.5 billion in new initiatives, as part of our $2.2 billion package to deliver better care.
This package will focus on support for the severely ill; by funding organisations to co-ordinate both clinical and social support and helping to relieve the pressure often felt by families, and those with a mental illness, in navigating a complex system.
We will also address prevention and early detection for young people, by investing a further $419 million in Headspace and Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres – as early intervention often avoids a tragic cycle of hospitalisation and social isolation.
We will also invest in better access to primary care; a more responsive system; and a new National Mental Health Commission that will drive future reforms.’