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Next wave of mental health reform must prioritise people affected by complex mental health issues

Media Statement: 6 October 2020

Tonight’s Federal Budget confirmed that a record $5.7 billion will be spent on mental health in 2020–21, but SANE says it’s critical that Australians affected by complex mental health issues such as schizophrenia and personality disorders are not left further behind.

SANE Deputy CEO Dr Michelle Blanchard says the announcement to extend the Medicare Benefit Schedule Rebates through the Better Access Initiative from 10 to 20 sessions for people right around Australia with a mental health plan will make a significant difference.

“This is a welcome announcement given the impact COVID-19 has had on the mental health of our community,” Dr Blanchard said. “However many Australians affected by complex mental health issues have told us they would benefit enormously from more than double that amount, to be able to see the impact of the talking therapies that would best meet their needs.”

While the Government is yet to release the findings from the Productivity Commission’s Report on Mental Health, SANE anticipates these findings will reinforce the urgent need to reform the Australian mental healthcare system to meet the needs of those who are currently falling through the cracks.

“Urgent investment is required not just for clinical care, but in evidence-based psychosocial support, in peer work and in action to ensure that everyone has a place to call home, meaningful employment and the opportunity to participate in the life of their community, free from stigma and discrimination,” Dr Blanchard says.

“The inclusion of an additional $500 stimulus payment for recipients of aged, carer, family and disability support pension is a welcome contribution to people living on low incomes, including those are living with complex mental health issues or are carers, who require additional financial assistance to meet the costs of daily living.”

SANE also welcomes the additional funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme but says it steps must be taken to increase participation from people affected by complex mental health issues who meet the eligibility criteria.

Anyone looking for information, support and guidance from mental health professionals can contact the SANE Help Centre on 1800 187 263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from 10am to 10pm AEST Monday to Friday.  For anyone in crisis, please call:

ENDS

To request an interview with SANE Deputy CEO, Dr Michelle Blanchard contact:
Bianca Lapins, Senior PR and Media Advisor
Phone: 0438 092 371
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About SANE

SANE is a national mental health charity dedicated to makeing a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues through support, research and advocacy. We work to support the more than four million Australians affected by complex mental health issues including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, complex trauma and severe depression and anxiety. SANE's vision is for an Australia where people affected by complex mental health issues live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination.

https://www.sane.org/media-centre/media-releases-2020/2501-federal-budget-response-2020

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