The Morrison Government has today announced an investment of $133.5 million to support child, youth and perinatal mental health programs.

Approximately 560,000 Australian children and adolescents are estimated to have a mental illness and one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experiences mental illness in any given year. In addition, each year almost 100,000 Australian parents are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety.

Intervention early in life and at an early stage of illness can reduce the duration and impact of mental illness.

The Be You initiative will be extended for two years from 2021–22, through an additional Government investment of $46.0 million.

Be You is a school-based mental health program that aims to give teachers the skills and resources to be able to teach students how to manage their mental health and wellbeing, build resilience, and support the mental wellbeing of other students.

The initiative is delivered by Beyond Blue in partnership with headspace and Early Childhood Australia. The program is available to all schools and early learning services (ELSs) in Australia, and is currently operating in 70 per cent of schools and 25 per cent of ELSs.

Our Government is also providing an additional $16.0 million over two years to Emerging Minds to continue the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health.

The centre supports health, social and community professionals to identify, assess and support infants and children who are at risk of, or currently experiencing, mental health difficulties.

The funding announced today will bring the total Government investment in the National Child and Youth Mental Health Program encompassing Be You and Emerging Minds to $206.2 million over seven years.

In addition, $53.0 million is being provided to continue the Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program at 14 different headspace centres:

• Southport and Meadowbrook in Queensland

• Mount Druitt, Parramatta and Penrith in NSW

• Joondalup, Midland and Osborne Park in WA

• Bentleigh, Dandenong, Frankston and Narre Warren in Victoria

• Darwin

• Adelaide.

This important program aims to reduce the incidence and impact of psychosis within the community through prevention, early detection and coordinated care delivery.

A significant element of the EPYS program is on functional recovery which focuses on a young person’s re-engagement in education and employment, leading to better long-term outcomes.

Our Government investment announced today also includes a further $18.5 million for an open competitive Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program grant round.

In October, the Government announced $13.6 million to extend existing national perinatal mental health and wellbeing services including PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline, Red Nose’s helpline and peer support, Sand’s helpline and peer support, and the MumSpace website.

The Perinatal Mental Health Program – Emerging Priorities grant round will focus on priority gaps in national perinatal mental health service delivery, and aim to improve the range of services available to better support women and their families affected by perinatal mental illness, or experiencing grief after the death of a child.

Opening tomorrow, this grant round brings the total investment in the Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program to $32.1 million over four years. Applications can be submitted through www.grants.gov.au.

The new child, youth and perinatal funding was announced today, coinciding with the release of the final report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the cost of mental illness to the economy.

In the 2020–21 Budget, the Morrison Government doubled support under the Better Access Initiative – from 10 to 20 Medicare-funded psychological sessions – in response to a recommendation contained in the Productivity Commission report, with an investment of $100.8 million.

The new funding provided today brings the initial response to the report to $234.3 million towards mental health services and supports. These initial steps in responding to some of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations are important, and the Government will continue to provide further support when and where it is required.

Our Government will deliver a comprehensive whole-of-government mental health and suicide prevention response to the Productivity Commission report as part of the 2021–22 Budget.

From today, we are opening a consultation process, until 10 February 2021, to seek feedback from the public and key stakeholders on the final recommendations of the report.

This work will continue the Morrison Government’s unprecedented commitment to mental health, building on record funding for mental health services and suicide prevention, estimated to be $5.7 billion in 2020–21 in the Health portfolio alone.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.