Page 3962 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

deliver many mental health services in the community, and those who undertake research and systemic advocacy, as well as the valued contributions from consultation and co-design processes of people with lived experience.

The need for mental health services has been increasing for years in the ACT, as it has across Australia. COVID-19 brought additional challenges with social isolation and economic impacts. All of this builds upon the existential anxiety around our changing climate, and the growing levels of social and economic inequality, layer upon layer. These mental wellbeing impacts will be felt by our community long after the virus itself has ceased to be a threat.

One of the biggest pressures on our health system has been the increased volume of demand, combined with increased acuity in people in need of care. Focusing investment on earlier intervention and delivering services in the community closer to where people live makes a real difference in supporting people at an earlier stage in their mental health journey, reducing the duration of treatment needed and staying in recovery.

When we find services that work, we increase investment in those services, as we have done in the 2022-23 budget. PACER—the Police, Ambulance, Clinician and Early Response team—has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the need for a person in mental health crisis to go to the emergency department, with 70 to 80 per cent of people seen by PACER not needing to go to hospital. This is important for more effective, long-term mental health outcomes, because it keeps the person connected to services that can help them in the community. The success of the first PACER team prompted investment in a trial of a second PACER team, and this has now been extended to a full-year trial of the second team, as well as an evaluation—an important element of any trial process. This funding, at $1.997 million, expands PACER to two teams, seven days a week, serving the whole of Canberra.

The success shown by the Way Back suicide prevention and aftercare service, delivered by Woden Community Service, has also resulted in an increased investment of $3.533 million over four years to expand the program to support more people, as well as to further enhance the postvention support offered through coronial counselling delivered by Relationships Australia.

We want to reduce the number of people presenting to hospital with mental illness by increasing the accessibility of appropriate mental health supports in the community. The most recent budget includes $9.384 million over four years for services that reduce people’s need for presentations to hospital, such as ongoing funding for the home assessment acute response team, including a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander position; ongoing support for the homeless outreach team after the success of their recent 12-month pilot program; and a new adult dialectical behaviour therapy program.

Support for expanded access to dialectical behaviour therapy is also included in funding in the most recent budget, totalling $14.462 million over four years, to strengthen mental health support for families and young children, with the establishment of a mother-infant DBT program. This funding also supports universal perinatal mental health screening and data collection; establishing a multidisciplinary

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video