With the state borders still closed and state governments making decisions as seperate governing bodies on travel, physical distancing, sporting events, students returning to schools and opening venues, there is one thing that they are united on addressing and that is the concern of a spike in mental illness over the next few months.
Today the national cabinet agreed and announced a $48.1 million mental health and wellbeing plan which will be covering three areas as broken down by Federal Minister of Health, Greg Hunt.
- $7.3 million for research and real-time data
- $29.5 million for outreach to vulnerable communities
- $11.3 million for communication and outreach programs
National Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan endorsed the plan which is specifically addressed to recognise the diversity of the challenges people are and will be experiencing through mental illness as a result of the pandemic.
"We understand and acknowledge the risk factors for suicide during the response and recovery phases of the pandemic and are pleased that the Plan includes comprehensive responses and system reform opportunities." Said Ms Morgan. "As reforms are developed and delivered the expertise of our workforce will need to be included as will the lived experiences of millions of Australians, to ensure the expansions and system reconfigurations are fit for purpose are unified and consistent across all jurisdictions."
With many mental health organisations already recording an increase in the number of people reaching out and using their support platforms, it is anticipated with the high unemployment figures and continued financial stress, that these figures will continue to rise.
"Our challenge is to make sure that we have open access for them to look for help." Said Ms Morgan. "We will have a communications campaign which will really seek to normalise help-seeking behaviour."
Article By: Kelly Malloy