JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Boost to mental health services in Canberra

Canberrans will have easier access to mental health services with the Morrison Government today announcing a new Head to Health adult mental health satellite service in the ACT.

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja welcomed the announcement of additional mental health services, which will be a major boost to community-based mental health services. 

“The Morrison Government continues to make the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians a national priority,” Senator Seselja said. 

“Head to Health satellite services, like the one being established here in Canberra are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, ‘no wrong door’, entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and supports.” 

“I encourage people who are worried about their own or a loved one’s mental health to visit this centre – you don’t have to go it alone.” 

“The services are free, and referrals can also be made for more intensive mental health care or social supports if needed.” 

“This satellite service builds on the Head to Health centre I opened last year, the $2.9 million for Karralika House announced this year, and the more than doubling of funding for our hospitals since coming to Government,” Senator Seselja said.

The Canberra Head to Health satellite service is part of a network of community-based mental health services being established around Australia as part of the Government’s $3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said this was one of many Head to Health satellite services being established across the country, which will provide mental health support to Australians, when they need it.

“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have been incredibly difficult and stressful for many Australians, and particularly younger Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

“That is why we are prioritising mental health support, ensuring that young people have access to care that can help them recover and reach their full potential as we reopen the country.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said mental health and suicide prevention remained one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.

“We are committed to further expanding mental health services to ensure Australians can get support, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“These services will provide that much needed support, as well as creating a safe space for Australians experiencing high levels of distress or who are at heightened risk of suicide.”

The Canberra Head to Health satellite service will be commissioned by the Capital Health Network which will receive a total of $3.4 million over four years to establish and operate the satellite.

The satellite will be integrated within the primary care setting to offer support to adults with moderate to severe levels of mental illness over the short to medium term. 

The Morrison Government continues to make mental health a national priority, investing a record $3 billion in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system. 

This brings the Health portfolio expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2022–23 to a record high of $6.8 billion.

Unlike the Labor Party, which has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au). 

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

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The Hon. Greg Hunt MP 
Minister for Health and Aged Care 

The Hon. David Coleman MP 
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja 
Senator for the ACT