The Morrison Government is increasing funding for ground-breaking research and new services to prevent Indigenous youth suicide under a $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The high rates of mental health and suicide amongst young Australians – especially among young Indigenous Australians – are one of the most significant health concerns our nation faces. Almost half of all Australians will experience a common mental health difficulty in their lifetime, and suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 – 44 years. Three quarters of mental illness begins before the age of 25.

Our Government’s historic Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan announced in the 2019-20 Budget is the most significant youth mental health and suicide prevention plan in our country’s history. It will provide the vital support and strong national leadership needed to tackle the challenges of mental illness and suicide.

Today we are further backing that plan with an additional $22.5 million for our country’s best and brightest medical researchers to help find new solutions and better treatments for young and Indigenous Australians facing mental health challenges. We’re also providing $19.6 million for new services through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley.

This new funding brings the Government’s commitment to the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to $503.1 million.

“I want every young person in Australia to know that they are not alone and that we are committed to doing everything we can to support their mental health and wellbeing,” the Prime Minister said.

“Not just as a Prime Minister, but as a parent, I am going to do whatever it takes and whatever we can to break the curse of youth suicide in our country and ensure young people get the support they need.”

Of the funding, $10 million will go to two research projects focussed on child and youth mental health. These projects will deliver digital tools for common issues faced by young people – including anxiety, depression, substance use, sleep problems, suicide and relationship difficulties – and will improve the treatment and experiences of young people presenting to emergency departments with mental health crises.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said “This work has the potential to accelerate the progress we are making in achieving better mental health outcomes for young Australians. It will help protect the lives of young people, and reduce the impacts of mental illness on individuals, their families and their communities.”

The largest part of the new funding – $12.5 million – will support three projects which aim to provide the knowledge and understanding to make health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more effective.

These projects will determine how best to bring social and cultural awareness to mental health services for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. They will help support mainstream services to work better for Indigenous Australians and will bring together multidisciplinary teams to integrate mental health, alcohol and drug, and social and cultural supports.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM said “Young Indigenous people face many barriers to accessing health care, one of which is finding and engaging services that are safe and tailored to meet their needs. This work will help change the way we deliver general mental health services so that they draw on the value of culture, community, and country to enrich the care provided to our First Nations people.”

The five projects funded through this investment are the first successful initiatives of the Government’s $125 million Million Minds Mission, which aims to enrol a million additional people in new trials and programs focussed on protecting the mental wellbeing of Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the Morrison Government is also making a new $19.6 million investment through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley.

“Every single suicide is a tragedy that hits tight-knit Indigenous communities particularly hard and as Coroner Fogliani’s inquest into 13 youth suicides in the Kimberley found, these are the result of long-term and often intergenerational factors,” Minister Scullion said.

“This new $19.6 million investment will help build resilience and leadership skills in at-risk communities and provide new pathways for engagement, including some which the Kimberley Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Forum told us are needed to support fellow young people.

The Government is prioritising better mental health for all Australians with an estimated $4.8 billion expected to be spent on mental health in 2018-19 and an additional $736.6 million for mental health announced as part of the 2019-20 Budget.

Our strong economic management means that we can continue to invest record funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare, and hospitals.

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