Greens pledge over $11.6m plan to improve youth mental health

Australian Greens

A new ACT psychologist subsidy scheme and more support for children, young people, parents and families are key features of the ACT Greens extensive $11.6 million child and youth mental health package, announced today.

Adolescence is a crucial period of life for building good mental health, resilience and problem solving skills, and providing services and support for this cohort must be a priority, particularly given the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on young people.

The Greens $11.6 million child and youth mental health plan includes a commitment to establish a new $2 million psychologist subsidy scheme for mental health care plan sessions for young people and people on low incomes, equating to around 13,000 sessions each year.

The scheme will deliver more affordable mental health support while addressing a crucial gap in existing services for ‘mild to moderate’ categories of mental health need. Great access to psychological interventions will help prevent and/or reduce the progress of a mental illness, sooner, as well as improve a person’s mental and physical health over the longer term.

The Greens will also provide $1.9 million for parents, carers and families to support child and youth mental health in new and innovative ways.

Free seminars for parents and carers, delivered in schools, will provide advice and mental health education and awareness to help them better address the mental health challenges that young people face. Funding will also be provided to community organisations to deliver small parent peer support groups, so that parents can better connect with others who may be having similar experiences.

The Greens will also:

– employ 10 additional child and adolescent mental health clinicians

– boost community counselling, mentoring, home visits, advocacy and case management for 10-25 year olds

– a Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Program in primary schools

– more funding and funding certainty for community sector delivery of youth mental health services

Over the past four years, the Greens have:

– Seen Shane Rattenbury elected as the ACT’s first dedicated Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

– Established the Territory’s first Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing

– Delivered more support for youth mental health, including funding more frontline services and more outreach programs

– Focused on reducing the devastating impacts of suicide in our community and clear targets for suicide prevention in our Parliamentary Agreement

– Worked closely with frontline community groups to build a stronger safety net for those in the community for those in need

– Focused on early intervention, and helped to tackle the stigma around mental health illness

– Delivered new supported accommodation across, ensuring we have the right supports in place to meet different mental health needs

– Delivered the new Police, Ambulance, Clinician Early Response (PACER) service

– Expanded mental health support for older Canberrans

– Supported LGBTIQA+ Canberrans, including in the marriage equality postal survey.

The full details of the package can be found here

As stated by Shane Rattenbury, ACT Greens Spokesperson for Mental Health:

“For young people in particular, providing early support to build resilience, coping strategies and mental health literacy is vital and can help prevent mental health issues manifesting later in life.

“We need to provide more accessible, affordable and engaging services, fill gaps in the system, and ensure our mental health services are equipped to provide early intervention.

“Our commitment today will support more children, young people and their families, sooner – so that they feel safe, secure, empowered and optimistic about their future.”

The ACT Greens will announce our comprehensive mental health package in coming days.

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