NSW Budget 2019-20
The recurrent budget for mental health services in 2019-20 is $2.1 billion. This focuses on improving the lives of people living in NSW with mental illness by delivering better care in hospital and making supports available for them, their families and carers, in the community.
The Government also committed to investing $700 million from 2018 in a Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program, to build more contemporary mental health facilities.
Mental Health Response to COVID 19
The NSW Government has announced an $80 million package of initiatives to strengthen mental health services during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The new mental health funding provides for targeted and practical measures to support the mental health and wellbeing of NSW residents.
Among the initiatives included in the NSW Government’s $80 million mental health support package are:
- $21 million to recruit specialist, community-based mental health clinicians and peer support workers
- $20 million to expand virtual mental health services
- $16.4 million to enhance the 1800 NSW Mental Health Line
- $6.1 million to support First Responders, including police and ambulance
- $6.05 million to enhance therapeutic activities in acute inpatient units
- $6 milion to Lifeline to ensure it is equipped to respond to the increased needs of the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Towards Zero Suicides - Premier's Priority
The Towards Zero Suicides initiatives seek to provide leading best practice crisis care and support, build on local community resilience and improve systems and practices to reduce the suicide rate in NSW.
The Towards Zero Suicides initiatives supported in 2019-20 included:
- $1.7 million – Zero Suicides in Care
- $5.1 million – Alternatives to Emergency Department Presentations
- $4.35 million – Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams
- $3 million – Aftercare
- $2.25 million – Enhancement to Rural Counselling
- $1.67 million – Building on Resilience in Aboriginal Communities
- $1.09 million – Community Gatekeeper Training
- $0.96 million – Post-Suicide Support
- $0.65 million – Improving Collection and Distribution of Suicide Data
Mental Health Response to Drought
The 2019-20 budget includes $8.3 million for 13 drought peer workers and counsellors (in addition to the 14 positions already funded) to deliver farm gate counselling services across rural local health districts. This brings the total number to 27 workers employed in affected areas. The program involves assertive outreach, coordination with local services and communities, and the provision of ongoing support to individuals and their families and carers.
A parental peer support program will allow Peer Support Australia to make parental support workshops available in 13 additional drought-affected towns.
A regional sports fund has been established within the Office of Sport that can be accessed by the major codes (Rugby League, Rugby Union, AFL, Cricket, Netball and Hockey) as well as other regional sports clubs to run their own mental health programs that tap into their large member base in the regions.
Mental Health Response to Bushfires
The NSW Government announced a recovery package that includes $14.8 million to recruit 30 new Bushfire Recovery Mental Health Clinicians. These positions will work closely with primary health initiatives, community and welfare agencies to provide direct care and respond to local needs and issues.
NSW Budget 2020-21
The 2020-21 NSW Budget has been deferred until November 2020.