Filling in gaps in our youth mental health system

A Shorten Labor Government will invest nearly $200 million in headspace Plus – improving youth mental health services and ensuring young Australians don’t fall through the cracks in Australia’s mental health system.

Labor has been listening to mental health experts and advocates, such as Professor Patrick McGorry, about fixing the fragmented mental health system that has let too many young people down.

More needs to be done to help young people who need additional mental health support than a GP can provide, but who aren’t at the stage where they require hospitalisation.

These services are often referred to as the ‘Missing Middle’ in our mental health system.

The headspace Plus proposal is designed to fill this gap – as a central hub of community-based mental health care for young people aged between 12 to 25 with moderate to complex mental ill health.

Young people in the trial sites will be able to access up to 20 additional MBS Better Access sessions and have access to staff including GPs, mental health nurses, psychiatrists and addiction specialists.

Labor will:

Invest $144 million over four years to trial three metropolitan headspace Plus sites – in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne;

  • Invest $36 million over four years to trial a regional headspace Plus site in Tasmania; and
  • Provide $14 million over four years for Orygen to provide central implementation support, technical guidance, research and evaluation and $3 million for an independent evaluation.
Labor will deliver headspace Plus through Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and in partnership with relevant state and territories, recognising the role they play in the provision of community-based services. Labor will work with all tiers of government to reduce fragmentation and gaps in mental health services.

GPs and existing headspace services do excellent work but are not designed to cater for young people who have complex needs but who are not unwell enough to go into hospital.

That’s why Labor is making this investment – so that young people with complex mental health needs don’t have to reach the point of hospitalisation before they get the care they need.

This funding injection is on top of existing funding in the Budget

Labor can deliver better mental health services for young Australians because we’ve made the choice to close tax loopholes and make multinationals pay their fair share.

This election is a choice between investing in health, hospitals and youth mental health and or more of the Liberals cuts and chaos.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.

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