Minister for Health announces new mental health initiatives

On Wednesday 14 August, Health Minister Greg Hunt addressed the National Press Club in Canberra in a speech which focused on the Morrison Government’s long-term vision for improved mental health.

Minister Hunt acknowledged the “significant gap” in services for people with mild to moderate mental health conditions and noted that Australia’s mental health system needs to be better integrated, with a stronger emphasis on coordinated mental health services from prevention through to recovery in a “single unified system”.

Minister Hunt announced several significant initiatives, including:  

  • An intergenerational health and mental health survey involving 60,000 Australians, to be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) over three years
  • Over two years, working towards a national partnership to create a single, unified and integrated mental health system, through ongoing discussion at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and in close consultation the Productivity Commission’s current review of the mental health system
  • A National Children’s Mental Health Strategy, led by Professor Christel Middeldorp and Professor Frank Oberklaid
  • A commitment to a network of adult mental health centres across Australia by 2030
  • An $8 million round of grants under the Million Minds Program, beginning in November, which will focus on suicide prevention

PACFA welcomes the announcement of new initiatives to support mental health, given that mental health services are fragmented and underfunded at a time when community concern about mental illness is growing.

The full transcript of Minister Hunt’s address is available here.

The full address can also be viewed on ABC iView until 1:30pm 13 September: