Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a massive funding boost to mental health services for Victorians as the state’s COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen.
Making an announcement just minutes ago, Mr Morrison said every Victorian would now be entitled to an additional 10 Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions to cope with the impact of the pandemic.
“If you need help, reach out. Help is there. Additional support is being provided,” the Prime Minister said.
“Mental health and suicide prevention is one of my Government’s highest priorities.”
“For Victorians, the last few weeks have been devastating…not being able to connect with friends and loved ones, concerns about employment, all of this takes a toll.”
“Anyone around the country who knows a Victorian – get on the phone and support them.”
He said the additional therapy sessions to those who need them would be available from tomorrow (Friday 7 August).
The Prime Minister also announced additional funding for a number of mental health support bodies – $5 million for Headspace, $2 million for Kids Helpline, $2.5 million for Lifeline and $2.5 million for Beyond Blue.
He said the funding for Headspace would be focussed on increasing outreach services to young people in the community and would target Year 11 and 12 students, tertiary students and those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Funding for Beyond Blue will go toward expanding its capacity to take calls, with counsellor web chat hours to extend to 24 hour availability, while Lifeline will increase it’s capacity to receive an increased number of calls from Victorian residents struggling with their mental health during the pandemic.
The Prime Minister said he was expecting to receive a report on the state of Victoria’s mental health from National Mental Health Commissioner, Christine Morgan tomorrow.