The NSW Mental Health Commission has released the following statement in response to the federal budget, and in anticipation of the state budget release on June 19:

The NSW Mental Health Commission today welcomed the $338m investment in mental health in the 2018-19 federal budget.

NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said she was pleased to see many of the priorities that have been allocated Commonwealth Government funding align strongly with work underway in NSW to improve mental health.

“In our recent suicide prevention consultations around NSW, people stressed the need for somewhere to turn in a crisis. By investing in programs like beyondblue’s Way Back Support Service, which helps people being discharged from hospital after a suicide attempt, as well as tried and true services like Lifeline, the Commonwealth Government is helping to provide that muchneeded crisis care,” Ms Lourey said.

“It’s also wonderful to see over $100m specifically for older people’s mental health, which is so often forgotten or neglected. We need to break the myth that distress is an inevitable part of ageing and the 2018-19 budget has recognised this by funding programs to support older people living in both aged care and in the community.”

Ms Lourey said she looked forward to seeing similar investment in mental health in the NSW 201819 budget, to be released in June.

“There is a 10-year plan for mental health in NSW, called Living Well, and thankfully many priorities in that plan have already received funding and are being implemented. But we need to keep the momentum going.

“I hope to see continued support for really important reforms like the Pathways to Community Living Initiative, which is helping people who have been hospitalised for years because of mental illness move back into the community amongst their family and friends, with the right supports in place to help them. Investment in community-based support programs like this is really where we need our future mental health spending to go.

“It would also be great to see some funding put towards suicide prevention initiatives, to help complement the federal investment in this area, and ongoing support for the peer workforce, so the knowledge and skills of those with a lived experience of mental illness can become an established part of our mental health workforce.”

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