PMB: Headspace

31 Aug 2020 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (19:02): Improving the mental health of Australians is one of the Morrison government's key priorities. We know that 3.8 million, or almost one in five, Australians face challenges to their mental health every year. We also know that more than three-quarters of ongoing mental health conditions begin before the age of 25. That's why the Morrison government understands that the mental health of our young people is especially important.

These facts have never been more evident or more important than during the current coronavirus pandemic. The additional stresses the pandemic has placed on our young people can impact their lives through to adulthood. Students have faced, and continue to face, uncertainty in their studies, particularly those in year 12, and we are thinking of them all. Many young people have also witnessed the stress that the coronavirus has placed on their parents and their jobs and their family situations. Challenging times such as these can have long-lasting impacts
on young people, affecting them at a vital time in their development. Now more than ever it's crucial that our young people receive the support and care they need to help them stay on track or to help them get back on track.

Early intervention is essential to minimise longer term impacts. Headspace was created to serve this purpose. Established in 2006 by the Howard government, headspace currently operates 123 services around the nation. This is an increase on the 113 services mentioned in this motion when it was originally moved, highlighting our ongoing commitment to the headspace service. With a focus on early intervention, these services provide tailored mental health support for 12- to 25-year-olds. Critically, of the 123 services, 62 of these are located in rural and regional areas—another increase for communities which are not just dealing with the global pandemic, but have recently also suffered through terrible drought and catastrophic bushfires. The headspace network is
clearly at the heart of the Morrison government's vision for young people's primary mental health services, and we are continuing to expand these services.

In October 2018, I was delighted to have Prime Minister Morrison visit Boothby to announce a further $51.8 million for headspace sustainability funding. Down at the Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club we gathered together a wonderful group of young people who had been helped by headspace and who had gone on to work for headspace, as well as a range of amazing counsellors and headspace supporters, to talk about what that funding would mean for them. Additionally, under this measure, each existing headspace site nationally will receive an increase in funding of approximately eight per cent.

Following this announcement, we continued to support the headspace initiative and efforts within the youth mental health and suicide prevention space. In December 2018, we announced $6.4 million for new headspace satellite services. Then, in January 2019, we committed a further $47 million for the young ambassadors for headspace program. The 2019-20 federal budget reinforced the notion that mental health was a key priority for our government. We further outlined and expanded our youth mental health and suicide prevention plan. A $509 million strategy, the plan allocated $375 million for headspace, which included the expansion of the network by 30 new sites—and the results of this are already coming to fruition. The plan will also deliver reduced wait times and improved quality within headspace, along with early psychosis youth services throughout their centres.

As part of our continued funding, my electorate of Boothby will also see the benefits of our desire to address the issue of youth mental health. Through the 2019 election, we committed $3.9 million to establish a new headspace centre at Marion, which will serve my local community. Once complete, the new centre will provide vital services and deliver innovative support for young Australians in my local community. I'm pleased to see that these guaranteed and frontline services will help deliver support by providing information, advice, counselling and treatment to our youth in need. The federal government is providing $750,000 to the Adelaide Primary Health Network this year for the headspace Marion fit-out and recurrent funding of $912,000 each year for service delivery.

I wish to commend the Minister for Health for his ongoing commitment to headspace and his dedication to assisting Australians in addressing the issue of mental health. Through the difficult times we are currently facing, he has shown a clear understanding of the need to assist Australians in dealing with the increased pressures on their mental health with $1.1 billion announced in response to the coronavirus pandemic to boost mental health services, increase domestic violence support and increase Medicare assistance for people at home.