WA Government announces $56m mental health booster: Who will benefit?

There have been a long list of funding announcements in recent months, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic all but shutting down our economy and putting immense pressure on Australians’ well-being.

Mental health services in Western Australia were the latest beneficiary, with a $56 million funding package announced in June. The money, according to Deputy Premier and Minister for Mental Health, Roger Cook, comes in response to National Mental Health and Well-being Pandemic Response Plan.

So let’s take a look at where the money will be going, and what it means for mental health services in Western Australia at this crucial time.

$25m for a new community care unit

A significant portion of the funding is earmarked for a new 20-bed adult community care unit, with a focus on rehabilitation and support for adults with metal health issues.

The Government hopes the new facility will provide a “home-like environment” where people can receive the treatment they need.

$25m for youth mental health

Another $25 million is set aside for a 16-bed youth mental health and AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) addiction centre in the Perth metro area.

The service will “provide stable transitional supported accommodation for young people aged 16-24 years who have a severe mental health issue with or without a co-occurring AOD issue and who are experiencing homelessness.”

It’s the first time such a service has sought to incorporate AOD services alongside mental health. This could be seen as recognition that addiction is a problem largely attributed to poor mental well-being, and so is a progressive step for State-operated services.

$6m for COVID-19 mental health support

The balance of funding will go towards supporting people already accessing AOD and mental health services in Western Australia.

Details on this last slice of funding are slightly more vague than the $50 million allocated to new services, but the Government says it will be focusing on community-based mental health services as they adjust to new measures in response to coronavirus.

What it means for mental health in Western Australia

$56 million sounds like a lot of money, but to some – like the WA Association of Mental Health, or WAAMH – it’s not of enough.

In a statement, WAAMH said while the association “supports and welcomes increased investment in the sector, it is disappointing that government continues to focus exclusively on services at the crisis end.”

Especially with the impending wave of COVID-related mental illness predicted to break in the coming months, WAAMH believes prevention and early intervention are underfunded.

The future of mental health services in Western Australia

One thing we can be sure of is that mental health services in Western Australia are going to continue increasing in importance. For people of all ages and backgrounds, front-line mental health services provide the essential support they need to recover.

Here at TrainSmart Australia we’re passionate about improving Western Australia’s mental health services by providing high-quality courses with national recognition. Our courses cover a wide range of essential support functions, from a Diploma of Mental Health to Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs.

Head to our website to explore the courses in offer, or contact us to request course information.

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