As the national organisation representing Australians impacted by complex or significant mental ill health, SANE is heartened to see psychosocial support services maintained within the focus on health and equity in the recent Budget.
Amongst the renewal of existing psychosocial support funding, we’re pleased to announce that SANE’s digital health programs including our community forums and guided service have been funded to continue their essential support of people and families with complex mental health issues for the next financial year.
These services provide free and effective care for people waiting for access to traditional face-to-face care and fills a critical care gap for those who would otherwise be either completely unsupported or relying on public hospital emergency departments.
According to SANE CEO Rachel Green, this budget has taken steps to address critical upstream factors such as unemployment, housing and social connection whilst taking important steps to bolster primary care – recognising the critical role GPs play in providing long term mental health support.
“We’re cautiously optimistic to see recognition of the significant and growing impact of financial insecurity amongst the Australian community with initial increases in financial and housing support.
To quote the singer, Lizzo, it’s about damn time this critical factor was acknowledged, and we’re hoping to see further increases in subsequent years.
From a health perspective, SANE applauds the enhancements being made to the primary care system, in particular the tripling of the Medicare rebate for youth and concession card holders visiting their GP.
We know from speaking with our community that GPs are an essential source of mental health care, in fact, almost 50% of the people accessing SANE phone and online support services are entirely reliant on a GP for their mental health care.
Boosting access to affordable primary care, and improving community-based multidisciplinary care, will significantly impact both physical and mental health outcomes.
However, whilst this budget shows some promise, it also lacks detail on the broader mental health reform process and how this Government will work to build greater accessibility and equity into the system over the long term.
There are still many people who face extended waiting lists or others who have to choose between paying a gap fee for mental health care or paying their rent.
We have a lot of work to do and I hope that this Government continues to listen and engage with those people and families who use the mental health system every day.”