The NSW Mental Health Commission welcomed news that the NSW Government is planning to increase support for the wellbeing of young people in the 2019-20 NSW Budget.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said she was pleased to see $88.4 million specifically allocated for school-based services, including more psychologists and counsellors.
“Young people need the opportunities to lead strong mentally healthy lives and get support when they need it, and that is where our investment should be,” Ms Lourey said.
“Early intervention and prevention is really where our future mental health spending needs to go if we want to address mental health issues when they first arise and so support children and young people to have positive wellbeing and stay connected with family, friends, learning and their community to stay healthy.”
Features of the 2019-20 NSW Budget that support this goal include:
• $88.4 million to support student welfare and mental health in schools
• $23.5 million to expand the capacity of Lifeline and Kids Helpline services
• $9.6 million to set up an eating disorder hub
• $5.2 million to support preschool children and their families facing drought hardship.
Ms Lourey said she hopes the NSW Government’s new $50 million Regional Youth Program will help young people in rural and remote areas to stay connected and engaged within the community.
“The Commission has heard that more support for collaboration and coordinated services is still needed, and finding community-based solutions for young people who are in distress but do not meet the criteria for hospital admission is crucial, and we need to make sure we keep working towards that.
The Commission also welcomed NSW Government’s commitments to other mental health initiatives including the $11 million investment in the Getting on Track in Time school-based early intervention program for social and emotional learning; $4.2 million for school nurse coordinators; $30 million to support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children with complex needs in out-of-home care; $3 million for the Gidget Foundation; and specialised mental health beds for mothers and children.
“To ensure a healthier future for NSW we need to focus on the wellbeing of children, young people and families, strengthening prevention and early intervention efforts, and delivering person-led care,” Ms Lourey said.