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
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
- 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
Mental Health Response to Drought
The 2020-21 budget includes $11.93 million for the Emergency Drought Relief Mental Health Package . This includes $4.38 million for the farm gate counselling program to employ 28 farm gate counsellors/drought peer workers across rural local health districts. The program involves assertive outreach, coordination with local services and communities, and the provision of ongoing support to individuals and their families and carers.
It also includes $2.5 million to expand access to virtual mental health support to provide community mental health services by telephone and video to rural and remote communities, where face-to-face service options are limited.
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.