House debates

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions without Notice

Mental Health

3:06 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Berowra for a question about mental health. He has told this House about one of the greatest agonies that any family could face, and he did that with immense courage, with immense honesty and in a way that has changed this House and this parliament for the better. He is not alone in the courage with which he has talked about these circumstances. He has joined with the member for Eden-Monaro, who has known too many veterans who have lost their lives, in raising the issue of suicide and mental health. In doing that, he has done all of us a great service. It's our privilege to be able to invest and to support and to develop the capacity of the government and the Australian people to provide better mental health services and to receive better mental health services.

As a government, this year we'll be providing over $5.2 billion of funding for mental health services. In particular, the Treasurer and the Prime Minister, because of the circumstances, have been able to allow us to invest in the largest youth mental health and suicide prevention package on record. That package is over $700 million, with over $500 million specifically for youth mental health and suicide prevention. That includes the expansion of headspace. It includes the increase of services at existing headspaces. It includes, in particular, support of $15 million for Indigenous services, and it's allowed us to support groups such as batyr. The Prime Minister and I had the privilege of joining the member for Reid and seeing the way they were able to work with young women in the later school years, giving them confidence and giving them an understanding that it's okay to reach out.

In exactly that vein, tomorrow a series of groups which have been supported by the government, including beyondblue, with $37 million, and Lifeline, with $33 million, are launching the YouCanTalk campaign. It in many ways parallels and complements what's being done with R U OK, where each of us reaches out to someone else if we believe they are at risk of a serious mental health problem, or worse. The YouCanTalk campaign says to any of us that we can reach out ourselves, that you can talk—that, as an individual; you can seek that help. There is no shame. There should be no barrier. It is a hard step. We know that it is a hard step for people to seek that help. But, precisely because of the courage of people such as the member for Berowra, the YouCanTalk campaign speaks to Australians of all ages, in all places, and says to them: there is help; there is no shame. It's our great obligation as a nation to look out for each other, and now is the moment that we do it.

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