Government earmarks $110M for youth mental health

Government earmarks $110M for youth mental health
Schools across Australia will soon be able to provide greater support to students after the government earmarked $110 million for youth mental health.

Announced this week, the major investment aims to tackle youth depression and anxiety which impact a combined total of around 400,000 under-18s every year.

"We know that around 4 million Australians experience a mental health condition every year," said health minister Greg Hunt. "People of all ages can be affected, either directly themselves or because someone close to them might be suffering and even young children can be deeply affected.”

Hunt also confirmed that $46 million of the funding will be dedicated to teaching students about good mental health throughout early learning, primary and secondary schools.

The new national program will not only encourage good mental health and wellbeing practices for Australian children but it will also give school principals access to a range of face-to-face or online mental health programs.

Jason Trethowan – CEO of mental health initiative Headspace – said the funding for school-based programs was particularly welcome as educators don’t always know the best way to help a student who may be suffering from a mental illness.

 “When students are feeling a little bit down or have issues at home, often they go to a teacher for support,” he told ABC. “We will be there on the front line, working with those school communities to help them work with those young people and families.”

Digital mental health services – such as Kids Helpline and ReachOut – have also received a significant funding boost and are set to share an extra $1.8 million over two years.

"Programs for beyondblue, Headspace, Origin and Kids Helpline and Reach Out and others are all about ensuring that we provide assistance before the problems emerge and when they do emerge there are avenues for treatment and avenues for people to seek emergency help,” said Hunt.