House debates

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Constituency Statements

Mental Health

Photo of Trevor EvansTrevor Evans (Brisbane, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It's a sobering fact that almost one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. For young Australians in particular we know that that challenge can be devastating. According to beyondblue, who I've worked with in Brisbane before, over 75 per cent of mental health problems occur before the age of 25. One in four young Australians experience mental illness in any given year. Tragically, young people are less likely to seek professional help than any other age group. That's why our government's $51.8 million funding boost to headspace is so important and should be welcome news to young Australians facing mental health challenges and their families and loved ones.

Since 2006 headspace has helped almost half a million young Australians to manage their mental health and wellbeing. And for the 35,000 young people in my electorate of Brisbane, our government's funding boost announced on Sunday will mean more staff and shorter waiting times at nearby headspace centres in places like Nundah, Taringa and Woolloongabba. Across Australia, it'll mean 14,000 additional services are provided every year, including through headspace's online portal, eheadspace, so that more young people can get the information, advice, counselling and treatment when and where they need it. This funding boost is on top of the $95.7 million our government has already committed to the 107 headspace centres currently right across Australia.

As important and timely as this funding is, we should also recognise that when it comes to mental health not every service is right for everyone. We need a diversity of services to meet a wide range of needs across our community, as well as generous support from government, so that no Australian is forgotten. That's why our government is spending an unprecedented $4.7 billion on mental health this year alone. When combined with state and territory government funding, that means Australia, in total, invests around $9 billion in mental health each year. Obviously, more than half of that is coming from or through the federal government.

In my home patch in Brisbane we're fortunate to have a number of fantastic mental health services and advocates. Out of so many people and organisations doing such great work in this critical area, I want to give a shout-out to my very dear friend Tanya Kretschmann, who is doing great work as Queensland's consumer representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum. I also want to give a shout-out to everyone at Mates4Mates. It's a fantastic charity, headquartered in Brisbane, supporting current and ex-serving ADF members and their families.


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