Our Plan for

Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Key Points

The tragedy of suicide touches far too many Australian families. Suicide is the leading cause of death of our young people – accounting for one-third of deaths of Australians aged 15-24. The tragic impacts are even higher in Indigenous communities.

The Morrison Government is leading a change in the way Australians and Australian governments think about suicide prevention. Recognising that social, financial, legal, family, health and mental health factors may all play their part, we are elevating suicide prevention to a national, whole-of-government priority.

Our $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is the largest suicide prevention strategy in Australia’s history. It will ensure that government activities are coordinated, services are delivered to young Australians at risk and support is available for friends and families.

Our Plan focuses on:

  • Strengthening the headspace network,
  • Indigenous suicide prevention,
  • Early childhood and parenting support.

We will ensure young Australians and their families get help where and when they need it by investing an additional $375 million to expand and improve the headspace network. headspace provides youth-friendly services for the challenges facing young Australians: across physical health, alcohol and other drug use, vocational support and mental health.

To strengthen Indigenous youth suicide prevention, we will invest $34.1 million, including support for Indigenous leadership that delivers culturally appropriate, trauma-informed care as well as services that recognise the value of community, cultural artistic traditions and protective social factors. Our support includes $19.6 million for measures to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particulary in the Kimberley.

To support Australian parents and their children we will invest $11.8 million in a range of initiatives to help parents recognise when their children are struggling, improve mental health skills training in schools, enhance peer support networks and boost counselling support services for young people.

We are investing $15 million to create a new national information system. This will ensure communities and services can respond quickly to particular areas affected by a high incidence of suicide and self-harm.

For Australians living in rural and regional areas we are establishing more than 20 new headspace sites in these areas and we are providing new mental health telehealth services funded through the MBS.

Our plan also includes mental health and wellbeing projects, funded through our $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program to provide vital frontline local mental health services.

We are also delivering $22.5 million in specific youth and Indigenous health research projects as part of our $125 million ‘Million Minds Mission’ into mental health research.

These investments can only be made because of a strong economy.

Our Record

Health care is a priority for every Australian.

That’s why we have a Long-Term National Health Plan based on four key pillars: Medicare and medicines, hospitals, mental health and medical research.

Our Government was the first to designate mental health as one of the four key pillars of the health care system. Our Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention package builds on the record $4.8 billion that we are spending on mental health this financial year alone – more than half a million dollars every hour of every day.

One in five Australians experience a common mental disorder each year and almost half of us will face some form of mental health problem during our lives.

In prioritising mental health, we’re transforming the health landscape with a determination to keep Australians safe and well. But it’s a major challenge, demanding a huge level of resources that can only come from good economic management.

The Morrison Government has delivered $1.45 billion to our Primary Health Networks to enable them to deliver ongoing and community-tailored mental health services to Australian families. This investment will boost crucial services such as headspace, local psychological services, suicide prevention activities and community mental health nursing.

We have also shone a light for the first time on eating disorders, which affect almost one million Australians and have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.

We have invested $110 million to provide Medicare rebates for the treatment of eating disorders, have funded ED Hope helpline and are establishing residential eating disorder centres across the country.

In 2018, we announced new support including $96 million additional funding for headspace, $96.8 million for the Mental Health in Education Initiative, $106 million for suicide prevention programs, $102.5 million for mental health services for older Australians, and $20.4 million to support the mental health of rural communities through the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This demonstrates our commitment to early intervention irrespective of health, age or location.

We have established the Million Minds Mission: providing $125 million through the Medical Research Future Fund for mental health research. The aim is to reach one million people and ensure that our health system continues to provide the best, most up-to-date treatments and interventions.

Our Government has also delivered enhanced suicide prevention services. We provided an extra $33.8 million to increase the responsiveness of Lifeline’s telephone crisis support service. Lifeline provides crisis support services to all Australians, including those impacted by natural disasters.

We have invested $37.6 million to expand the Beyond Blue Way Back Support Service aftercare model across Australia to support an estimated 28,000 people over four years.

This service supports Australians during the three months after they have attempted suicide and have been discharged from hospital.

Under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Support Program, the Morrison Government provided $36 million for a range of projects designed to reduce suicide among at-risk groups and to reduce suicidal behaviour. This supported organisations such as R U OK?, Mates in Construction and Suicide Prevention Australia.

We are committed to finding better ways to prevent suicide, establishing the National Suicide Prevention Trials in 12 nationwide locations at a cost of $55 million. We have also created the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund – a $12 million fund supporting and disseminating research on suicide prevention.

The Morrison Government’s Long-Term Health Plan is delivering a world-class health system providing patients with access to quality medical care, record hospital funding, affordable life-saving medicines and breakthrough research.

By keeping our economy strong, Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are guaranteed. And we can afford to make major investments like our Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Our Plan

headspace

The Morrison Government will enable more young Australians and their families get help where and when they need it with an unprecedented $375 million investment in headspace.

headspace provides youth-friendly services for the challenges facing young Australians. This includes physical health, alcohol and other drug use, vocational support and mental health services.

We will expand the headspace network by 30 – from the current 115 services to 145 by 2021, at a cost of $111 million. This will help more young Australians, their families and friends easily access support in their local communities.

More than 20 new sites will be in rural and regional Australia to ensure equitable access for younger Australians living outside our major cities. These services are complemented by new mental health telehealth services in rural and regional Australia available through Medicare.

We are also investing an extra $152 million in existing services to reduce wait times, improve the quality of care and assure young Australians that help is available when they need it most.

To ensure that headspace is equipped to provide specialist clinical services for young Australians at the early stages of severe mental illness, we are providing $110 million to continue the Early Psychosis Youth Services program at six headspace centres nationally.

Our innovative $2 million investment in the Young Ambassadors for Mental Health project will improve awareness of these services. Young ambassadors with the lived experience of mental health issues will be in the community, promoting mental health literacy and showing people how to seek help.

In total we are now delivering $120 million for headspace each year.

Indigenous youth suicide prevention

The suicide rate in our Indigenous communities is a tragedy.

We will bring a concerted focus to Indigenous suicide prevention with a $34.1 million investment to help tailor initiatives that make sense for those in need.

We will provide $4.5 million to empower Indigenous leadership in suicide prevention. Indigenous Suicide Prevention Australia will establish a national plan for culturally-appropriate care, and services that recognise the value of community, trauma-informed care and protective social and emotional factors.

Understanding the value of cultural artistic and healing traditions, our Government will provide $5 million for young Indigenous leaders to participate in place-based cultural programs.

We will also support communities with a $3 million investment in a centre of excellence in childhood wellness in the Illawarra – assisting disadvantaged children and adolescents affected by childhood trauma. And we are investing $1.2 million for Red Dust to deliver social and emotional wellbeing initiatives in the Northern Territory.

In addition we will provide $19.6 million through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley, tailored to breaking the cycle of disengagement and mental health issues in Indigenous communities.

Early childhood and parenting support

Early childhood and parenting support, crucial to tackling issues that could exacerbate in later life, will be boosted by $11.8 million.

We will provide $1.5 million for the Raising Children Network at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to provide tailored, expert guidance to parents – giving them the confidence to recognise when their children are struggling and to know what to do to help.

We want children to have the best start to life – to learn the skills to manage their mental and emotional wellbeing and to know how to seek help when needed. For this reason, the Morrison Government will invest $2.5 million in the school-based mindfulness program, Smiling Minds, as part of Beyond Blue’s Be You mental health in education initiative.

We will also boost funding to Kids Helpline by $4 million to enhance the 24/7 crisis and ongoing care it provides for children and young people aged 5-25.

We understand that young people may sometimes feel more comfortable seeking help initially from peers. We are providing $2.9 million to batyr to boost the role of peers in encouraging others to seek help; $0.4 million for the Banksia project to expand their innovative community program and $0.6 million for a trial of peer workers in Beyond Blue’s Way Back suicide aftercare service.

In addition, we have invested in a range of youth health hubs through our $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program, guaranteeing access to frontline services regardless of where young Australians live.

National coordination

We recognise that the causes of suicide are complex and emerge from a range of social, emotional, environmental and financial factors.

We will appoint a National Youth Suicide Prevention Adviser in the Prime Minister’s portfolio to work across the whole of government to coordinate suicide prevention activities, and to help design services that make a real difference.

We are also investing $15 million in a new nationwide suicide and self-harm monitoring system.

This will provide up-to-date information so communities and services can respond quickly in areas affected by a high incidence of suicide and self-harm. For the first time, this will allow suicide prevention initiatives to be tailored to specific localities and deployed rapidly to save and protect those at risk.

Mental health research

As part of our Million Minds Mission, we will invest $22.5 million in new health and medical research. Of this, $12.5 million will support research into how best to bring family, community, culture and country to the centre of mental health services for Indigenous youth. There will also be $10 million to design better approaches to managing mental health care for young people in crisis and improve digital mental health support.

Supporting all Australians

The Morrison Government’s landmark $503.1 million youth mental health and suicide prevention package complements our $275.5 million adult mental health and community support package. Together, this $778.6 million mental health and suicide prevention investment will address gaps in the system and deliver more frontline services for all Australians. The support builds on our record investment of $4.8 billion this financial year alone in mental health services.

the choice

Investing in youth mental health and suicide prevention is not a choice, it is a must.

The Liberal National Government's track record in delivering a strong economy ensures we can invest in essential services such as youth mental health and suicide prevention services.

Cost

The Coalition's plans for youth mental health and suicide prevention will not place additional costs on the Budget.