Orygen welcomes budget focus on the mental health of young people

Orygen welcomes budget focus on the mental health of young people

7 October 2020

Orygen welcomes budget focus on the mental health of young people

Orygen welcomes the Australian Government 2020-21 Budget which has signaled the commitment of the government to putting young people at the centre of its plan for economic and social recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted young people, particularly with regard to employment, educational participation and mental health.

Orygen’s executive director, Professor Patrick McGorry, said the Australian Government’s JobMaker measure, the JobTrainer program for school-leavers, the wage subsidies for 100,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships and the boost to Commonwealth-supported higher education places would provide young people with critical employment and education options as the country continues to respond to, and recover from, the impact of the pandemic.

Professor McGorry particularly welcomed the allocation of $45.7 million over four years from 2020-21 to expand the Department of Social Services’ Individual Placement and Support program for three more years and expand to a total of 50 headspace sites. 

“This will assist more vulnerable young people with mental illness in more locations across the country to participate in the workforce. Ultimately, this proven model needs to be in every headspace centre and every youth mental health service across Australia,” Professor McGorry said.

“Orygen recognises the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians have improved access to much needed mental health care during this challenging time, including through additional funding to Victorian headspace centres to support assertive outreach, the wide availability of telehealth items and the 15 new adult mental health clinics in Victoria.

“The additional 10 Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) individual psychological therapy sessions, taking the total number available each year to 20, announced in this budget will go even further to ensuring young people with more persistent or complex mental health issues will have access to the duration of care they need,” Professor McGorry said.

In addition, Orygen welcomes:

  • $2.3 million over four years from 2020-21 to enhance the National headspace network by upgrading the Mount Barker service in South Australia to a full centre.
  • The private health insurance changes which will enable health funds to cover treatment delivered outside hospitals, in the community and at home, starting with mental health and orthopaedics in April 2021 and also the changes to private health insurance that will increase the age of dependents – from 24 to 31 – to enable young people to remain on their family policy.

Professor McGorry said the Treasurer in his budget speech noted that more announcements in mental health were to come once the government had considered the findings and implications of the final report from the Productivity Commission into Mental Health, the interim report into suicide prevention commissioned by the Prime Minister, and the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission in Mental Health.

“This makes sense because major redesign and major new investment in programs that is backed by scientific evidence is essential to transcend the piecemeal, fragmented and ineffective approaches of the past,” Professor McGorry said.

“Orygen looks forward to working with the Australian Government on developing and implementing the next wave of investments and reform in mental health and youth mental health.”