Orygen’s response to mental health investment in federal budget

Orygen’s response to mental health investment in federal budget

15 May 2024

Orygen welcomes the Australian Government’s investment of $888.1 million to strengthen Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system.

Australia is experiencing a youth mental health crisis with almost 40 per cent of young people now in need of some level of mental health care. Orygen acknowledges there were some positive announcements in relation to youth mental health last night including $29.7 million allocated over three years to improve child and youth mental health services with a focus on increasing workforce capacity and co-designing new models of care.

The development of a much-needed, co-designed and evidence-based model for the treatment and care of young people, particularly those with complex mental health needs, is strongly supported by Orygen. We hope the government will commence this process urgently, and ensure it is completed as rapidly as possible. 

It is a very significant step to see the Commonwealth increasing its commitment to the moderate-to-severe illness tier of care which has always fallen between the gaps of state and federal governments services. The new investment in adult mental health via the 61 Medicare Mental Health Centres, is a welcome move which will strengthen the existing services (previously known as Head to Health) with psychiatrists and other clinical expertise.

Equally welcome is the continuation and expansion of the headspace early career program, supporting recent graduates and current students of psychology, social work and occupational therapy to work in headspace centres across the country, boosting the workforce and providing critical career pathways. Workforce is critical to a quality system of care.

The budget also included several welcomed investments that will benefit young people experiencing mental ill-health, including:

Orygen looks forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government as a number of these new measures are further developed and implemented. As the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health we are keen to see all young people across Australia access evidence-based, effective mental health care, where and when they need it. With the dramatic increase in the prevalence of mental health conditions among young people over the past 15 years, Orygen will be expecting significantly more investment in the next budget to tackle this crisis.