Member for Barker Tony Pasin has welcomed the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan with $48.1 million in additional Federal Government funding to support the plan.

This investment builds on approximately $500 million for mental health and suicide prevention announced by the Government this year including $64 million for suicide prevention, $74 million for preventative mental health services, and a significant proportion of the $669 million telehealth package to support MBS subsidised treatments provided by GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

“Our Government recognises that many Australians are experiencing fear, anxiety, loneliness, financial and family stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain it,” Mr Pasin said.

“Supporting mental health and suicide prevention remains one of the Government’s highest priorities.”

The funding package supports the three immediate priorities of the Plan; 1. data and modelling, 2. outreach and 3. connectivity.

“We will be focusing on the need to help people as early as possible if they are feeling the impacts of the pandemic, and make sure that people in need of support get the right care at the right time,” Mr Pasin said.

A $2.6 million investment will boost national capability in monitoring, anticipating and reacting to the mental health impacts of the pandemic. This will be used to enhance and expand the National Self-harm and Suicide Monitoring System that was established at a cost of $15 million over three years in the 2019-20 Budget, and will support the provision of expert guidance for proactive decision making in mental health service deployment.

$4.7 million will be provided to continue investment in suicide prevention research through the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund administered by Suicide Prevention Australia, and to support the work of the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce.

“The Plan also recognises that a number of groups have been disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic, and that it is essential for all jurisdictions to support care in homes, workplaces and schools,” said Mr Pasin.

Older Australians, people with ongoing mental illness, Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities will receive targeted funding for additional support.

“Our Government is making record investments in mental health services and support – with expenditure estimated to be $5.2 billion this year alone,” Mr Pasin said.

The Plan builds on announcements already made by the Federal Government in March this year including;

  • The Government’s digital mental health portal, ‘Head to Health’ (, which will be a single source of authoritative information and guidance on how to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and in self-isolation, how to support children and loved ones, and how to access further mental health services and care.
  • $10 million to be provided to create a dedicated coronavirus wellbeing support line, delivered by Beyond Blue, to help people concerned about a coronavirus diagnosis, or experiencing stress or anxiety from employment changes, business closure, financial difficulties, family pressures or other challenges.
  • $14 million to bolster mental health support providers facing an unprecedented surge in call volumes. The funding will increase their capacity, including $5 million for Lifeline and $2 million for Kids Helpline. It will also boost other existing services, including digital peer support for people with urgent, severe and complex mental illness who may have additional distress at this time.
  • Increased mental health support for health workers, who will be at the frontline of the pandemic.
  • $10 million to be provided to the Community Visitors Scheme to deliver extra staff to train volunteer visitors, who will connect with older people in aged care online and by phone, and help older Australians keep in touch with the community and loved ones.
  • $6.75 million to deliver the headspace digital work and study service. Mentors and headspace vocational specialists working in an integrated team will offer technical and life skills, providing a comprehensive digital support service for all young Australians during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $28.3 million to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months.

“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way we live. It has been a difficult time for everyone and even when the immediate health crisis has passed the economic impact will continue to bite.

“The National Plan recognises that there are serious challenges facing the mental health and wellbeing of Australians as we rebuild our economy.

“It’s ok to not be ok. No matter where you live, or what you are going through there is help available and I encourage everyone to reach out and use the services that are there,” Mr Pasin said.