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NSW Budget 2020-21

The recurrent budget for mental health services in 2020-21 is $2.4 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:

  • recruitment of additional specialist community mental health clinicians and peer support workers to support vulnerable populations.
  • expanding virtual mental health services to connect clinical settings within and across districts to enhance capability to assess and treat mental health clients remotely, connecting mental health clinicians to individual mental health clients in community settings, and connecting mental health consumers to clinical information and resources.
  • funding to Lifeline and the Mental Health Line to ensure these services are equipped to respond to the increased needs of the community.

Towards Zero Suicides - Premier's Priority

Towards Zero Suicides is an $87 million investment over three years in new suicide prevention initiatives that address priorities in the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-23 and contribute to the Premier’s Priority to reduce the suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2023.

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 2020-21 include:

  • Alternatives to Emergency Department Presentations – Safe havens
  • Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams
  • Zero Suicides in Care
  • Enhancement to Rural Counselling
  • Aftercare
  • Youth Aftercare Pilot
  • NSW Suicide Monitoring System
  • Post Suicide Support
  • Building on Resilience in Aboriginal Communities
  • Community Gatekeeper Training
  • Suicide Prevention Collaboratives
  • Community Response Packages for Priority Groups
  • Suicide Prevention Training in non-mental health and non-health environments
  • Suicide Risk Alert System
  • Expanding Peer Support and Peer Led Programs

For further information refer to Towards Zero Suicides

Mental health response to drought, bushfires and floods in rural and regional NSW

People in rural and regional NSW have reported suffering from the combined effects of drought, bushfire, floods and COVID-19. In response, the NSW Government has brought in a range of programs to support people and communities from 2021-22:

  • $5 million over five years for the Rural Mental Health Research partnership. The Peregrine Centre will deliver research to support to rural and regional local health districts. This research partnership will help build the evidence base for effective supports for rural and regional communities.
  • $21.15 million to continue the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) over five years. These programs provide outreach so people in rural and regional areas can access support at locations they choose.
  • $36.4 million over four years to continue Response and Recovery Specialists in rural and regional areas. These positions provide outreach support for communities, and coordination with local services at the time of a disaster or crisis, and during the ongoing recovery phase including:
    • 27 Farm gate and drought peer support workers over four years
    • 30 Disaster Recovery Clinicians over two years. Previously called Bushfire Recovery Clinicians.  Disaster Recovery Clinicians work closely with primary health initiatives, community and welfare agencies and mental health services to provide care and respond to local community needs and issues in the ongoing recovery phase of a disaster.
  • An evaluation of the farm gate counselling and drought peer support program and RAMHP found that these programs meant more people accessed support, who might not have otherwise. People in rural and regional areas were more likely to experience stigma against mental health help seeking, and these programs helped to reduce the stigma.
Current as at: Wednesday 24 March 2021
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch