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Mental Health Recovery funding

The NSW Government is putting $130 million towards helping people whose mental health is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funding will:

  • provide more appointments for psychology, psychiatry and allied health services 
  • address the sharp rise in eating disorders and self-harm presentations 
  • free up more mental health beds
  • launch the biggest suicide prevention training program ever undertaken.

Where the funding will go

Mental health workforce

Over two years, $35 million in funding will expand the mental health clinical workforce. This funding will allow NSW residents to access privately practising psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. NSW Health will work in partnership with Primary Health Networks.


There will be $20 million in funding to expand youth mental health services provided by Headspace, including 55,000 additional appointments and a boost to GP and clinical psychiatrist appointments at their NSW centres.

The funding will also allow placements at Headspace centres for:

  • masters and doctorate psychology students (clinical and general registration) 
  • social work and occupational therapy students (pre-registration and masters).

It will allow students - supervised by clinical educators - to conduct mental health assessments and provide clinical sessions for young people. Up to 350 students can participate over the 18-month period from January 2022 to June 2023.

Suicide prevention training

Over two years, $14 million will provide training to 275,000 people in suicide prevention. Training is being aimed at high school peer leaders, teachers and support staff, parents, community groups and youth influencers such as sports coaches and club managers.

Living Works will deliver the majority of the training, while grants will also be available to small organisations delivering training to at-risk groups

Aboriginal communities

Over four years, $21million funding will employ 18 FTE Aboriginal Care Navigators and 18 FTE Aboriginal Peer Workers to link Aboriginal Australians to culturally-appropriate mental health and suicide prevention services.

Eating disorders

Over four years, $16.5million in funding will address the increase of people diagnosed with eating disorders. The frontline workforce will be expanded to better recognise and respond to people who show signs of eating disorders. The Butterfly Foundation is also being funded to admit NSW residents to its national eating disorders centre in Wandi Nerida in Queensland.

Over one year, $3 million will be used to provide access to private beds for 12-24-year-olds experiencing complex trauma and eating disorders. This will be trialed in South Western Sydney Local Health District.


Over two years, $6million will fund the increase of caseworkers and casework managers to provide support to child protection practitioners at high risk of trauma.

Community groups

  • Over two years, $5 million will fund a grants program for local community wellbeing events.
  • Over one year, $3 million will fund NSW sporting bodies to deliver mental health and wellbeing initiatives. 
  • Over four years, $3.2 million will fund the creation of a Transcultural Mental Health Line – a NSW first.

Perinatal mental health

Over two years, $2.6 million will help to expand Gidget Foundation’s services and access to the online Gidget Perinatal Support Centre.  This will allow the foundaiton to expand Gidget House the Start Talking telehealth programs.

Mental Health infrastructure program funding

The NSW Government has announced $700 million for a state-wide mental health infrastructure program. This investment will transform existing infrastructure to support new contemporary care models and provide specialist mental health units for children and adolescents, families and older people. It will also improve the forensic mental health network and provide facilities which help patients reintegrate into normal life.

The following locations have been confirmed:

  • Two dedicated mother baby units located at Royal Prince Alfred hospital and Westmead hospital,
  • 26 new forensic low secure beds in Western Sydney
  • A new specialist child and adolescent mental health unit with up to 10 beds at Nepean Hospital.

Planning continues on this program. You can find out more about its sub-program and projects here.

Towards Zero Suicides initiatives

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.

Suicide Prevention Fund

The NSW Government has introduced the NSW Suicide Prevention Fund to provide opportunities for non-government organisations and community based services to deliver local suicide prevention services and activities.

From 2016-17, the NSW Government has committed $8million over four years for a Suicide Prevention Fund. Non-government organisations and community based services will be invited to submit proposals for services or programs to be delivered under the fund, through a contestable process. See also the Suicide Prevention Fund fact sheet.

Read more information about suicide prevention services.

Funded projects 

  • Next Steps Suicide Attempt Response Team - Grand Pacific Health is being funded $1.7 million for the Next Steps Suicide Attempt Response Team will deliver seven days per week aftercare services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region.
  • HealthWISE Suicide Prevention Initiative - HealthWISE New England North West is being funded $1.5 million for the HealthWISE Suicide Prevention Initiative.
  • Kumpa Kiira Suicide Prevention Project - Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation is being funded $800,000 for the Kumpa Kiira Suicide Prevention Project.
  • Hunter Primary Care Way Back Support Service - Hunter Primary Care is being funded $750,000 for the Hunter Primary Care Way Back Support Service. The Way Back Support Service is an established program, which has been trialled from May 2016 with funding from beyondblue up to January 2018.
  • Compass Housing Services Suicide Prevention Initiative- Compass Housing Services is being funded $650,000 for the Compass Housing Services Suicide Prevention Initiative.
  • ACON Suicide Prevention Initiative - ACON is being funded $500,000 for the ACON Suicide Prevention Initiative.
  • Bright Minds, Connected Communities - Community Activities Lake Macquarie is being funded $280,000 for the Bright Minds, Connected Communities initiative.
  • New Horizons Way Back Support Service – New Horizons is being funded $372,820 in 2019-20 to deliver the Way Back Service in Grafton.  
Current as at: Sunday 17 October 2021
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch