Page 3198 - Week 10 - Thursday, 17 September 2015

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Mental health—funding

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the funding support this government is providing to mental health in the ACT and what this means for mental health staffing?

MADAM SPEAKER: Sorry; what was the last word, Ms Porter? What was the last word?

MS PORTER: What this means for mental health staffing?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for her question and her ongoing and sustained interest in issues relating to mental health and mental health care in our community. This financial year expenditure for mental health will be $133 million. This is just over nine per cent of the overall ACT health budget. This is an investment that this community and the Assembly should be proud of because it demonstrates that mental health is a priority area for the government. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of raising awareness.

The fact is that the prevalence of mental health issues in the community remains significant. The Australian health survey in 2011-12 found that 15 per cent of ACT residents reported experiencing a mental illness and it also found that 9.2 per cent of Canberrans reported experiencing high or very high psychological distress. So we are investing significantly in mental health as a result. Part of this funding includes over $6½ million for specific services for children and adolescent mental health services, including our peri-natal mental health team, the eating disorder program, the early intervention team and the CAMHS community teams. There is over $20 million for adult mental health services and over $17 million for our ACT-wide mental health services, including the CATT team, older persons mental health team, the great work done at Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre and mental health services for people with intellectual disabilities.

We also focus very strongly on funding for justice mental health services through our forensic activities. In the latest budget the government has significantly increased funding for mental health services—over $26 million in additional funding over the next four years. This will provide for the first time a dedicated community mental health team for the Gungahlin region. It will include additional intensive psycho-geriatric care for people living in residential care facilities or transitioning from an acute inpatient unit. It will include the delivery of a new self-harm diversion service, improvements in 24-hour supportive accommodation, more in-home support for people experiencing acute mental health problems and a redesign of our adult mental health services, focusing on clinical management, psychological therapies, crisis care and more home-based care.

This is very positive news for the delivery of mental health services in our community. We know that we see increasing numbers of people accessing mental health care. In 2013-14 over 100,000 service contacts were made for our ACT-wide mental health services. In 2014-15 over 106,000 contacts were made for the same

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