Medibank Report Calls For Better Coordination of Mental Health Services
A new report by private health insurer Medibank has estimated the overall cost of supporting people with mental illness in Australia at $28.6 billion per year.
The Medibank/Nous Group report, launched by Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler in Melbourne yesterday, says that while substantial funding is being directed at mental health, the system needs improved coordination. Mr Butler agreed with the findings that services needed to be simpler for people to navigate.
“People with mental illness and their families have enough on their hands without having to fight for decent services,” Mr Butler said. “In 2010-11 we heard from people across Australia who were crying out for a national approach to mental health in Australia and we responded with a $2.2 billion National Mental Health Reform package to address these issues,” Mr Butler said.
A centrepiece of the reform package is the $550 million Partners in Recovery program which aims to pull together services like income support, housing, employment and medical care for 24,000 Australians with severe and chronic mental illness. Preferred tenderers have been selected for this program and services are expected to be rolled out later this year.
“We have also just launched Australia’s first ever online virtual mental health clinic – MindSpot – which is now providing free online therapy with trained health professionals right around the country. “These new reforms add to programs already established like headspace youth mental health services increased service provision under the Access to Allied Psychological Services Program (ATAPS), MindMatters, Kids Matter and many others,” Mr Butler said.
With state and territory governments principally responsible for mental health services in Australia, Mr Butler said there was a need to continue to demand better support for people with mental illness through the e state-based service system.
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