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What’s in the budget for mental health?

What’s in the budget for mental health?
Mar 30, 2022 | 6 min read

The government has announced a further $547 million in this year’s budget, which is on top of the record $2.3B investment into mental health from the 2021-2022 budget.

The focus will remain on the ‘5 pillars of support’; prevention and early intervention, suicide prevention, treatment, supporting our vulnerable and workforce & governance.

Of the $547 million announced, $53.3 will go towards Lifeline to meet increased demand. $17.8 million for mental health support to multicultural communities across Australia, enabling better access for diverse communities. $15.1 million for healthcare providers to enable coordinated & multidisciplinary care. $206.5 million to expand services nationwide for around 2,800 young people experiencing severe and complex mental illness.

Wanting to dig a little deeper and find out where the money is going exactly?

Early Intervention

The Government have promised to delivering services which provide appropriate care as early as possible, with budget measures for early intervention including:

  • $63.6 million over four years to continue support for digital mental health services in response to the ongoing pandemic pressure, including Lifeline’s 13HELP Line, and increased demand for crisis support and suicide prevention
  • $9.7 million to help teachers and school leaders to better understand and respond to the mental health and wellbeing of Australian school students
  • $3.9 million to contribute to evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention research activities and services delivered by the Thompson Institute at the University of the Sunshine Coast
  • $3.3 million to support the Raise Foundation to deliver its best-practice, early intervention and prevention student mentoring program to vulnerable students for a further two years, and
  • $1.8 million for the Raising Children Network to support and further develop the Raising Healthy Minds app, which aims to improve the mental health literacy of Australian parents and carers to identify signs of social or emotional problems in their children.

Suicide Prevention

The Australian Government is committed to working towards zero suicides and is investing $46.7 million in suicide prevention programs and research as part of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – Stage 2.

  • $10.4 million to fund a Suicide Prevention Regional Response Leader in each of Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs). The Regional Response Leader will be responsible for engagement, coordination, and integration of early intervention and suicide prevention activities across in their region, ensuring that communities have access to proactive and seamless support
  • $30.2 million to build on the lessons from the National Suicide Prevention Trials of 2016–17 to 2021–22 and invest in regional and community-based suicide prevention systems across all regions through initiatives responding to specific risk factors in each community, and $934,000 for data development and reporting and $700,000 for an evaluation of the rollout.

Supporting Our Vulnerable

The Australian Government is investing $34.9 million to ensure that all Australians have access to culturally appropriate mental health services as part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – Stage 2.

  • $8.6 million to establish the National Closing the Gap Policy Partnership on Social and Emotional Wellbeing (Mental Health) to maintain momentum in reducing the devastating impact of mental ill-health and suicide on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities.
  • $8.5 million in the Red Dust Program to provide culturally appropriate mental health support in remote Northern Territory communities, focused on social and emotional wellbeing, sexual health, relationships, alcohol and other drugs, and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
  • $10 million in a single year of top-up funding for PASTT, to continue to meet forecast demand for support to humanitarian entrants and survivors of torture and trauma.
  • $7.8 million to ensure Translating and Interpreting Services are available through
  • Primary Health Network-commissioned mental health services, removing a significant barrier to accessing these services for CALD Australians.


The Australian Government is investing $391.7 million to provide accessible and effective mental health treatment services as part of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – Stage 2.

  • $14.3 million to continue funding for the headspace Schools Suicide Prevention Activities Program and Flying headspace for a further four years to 30 June 2026, and the headspace Digital Work and Study Program for a further 12 months to
  • 30 June 2023.
  • $20 million over four years to implement a new program of specialised eating disorder treatment services delivered in the community setting through competitive funding grants for innovative and evidence-based models of care to best address local needs.
  • $1.6 million for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) for ongoing development of clinical resources, implementation of the National Eating Disorders Strategy, support for clinical workforce development, and provision of independent, expert advice to Government.
  • $1.1 million for the Butterfly Foundation to implement the eating disorder peer workforce project, provide advice to state and territory governments, support the establishment of community-based residential eating disorder treatment centres, and implement the Butterfly Body Bright program curriculum resources in schools.
  • $15.1 million will be provided for new MBS items to allow eligible providers to hold up to four mental health case conferences per calendar year. This will help facilitate collaborative care between a person’s general practitioner (GP) or other medical practitioner and others involved in their mental health care, such as a paediatrician, psychiatrist, psychologist, and other allied health professionals.
  • $31.2 million in mental health initiatives to support Australians impacted by the recent flood emergency in New South Wales and Queensland
  • $946,000 to extend the MBS items for Australians impacted by the 2019–20 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires for a further six months until 30 June 2022
  • $4 million to the Black Dog Institute to establish a new National Mental Health Service for Emergency Service Workers and Volunteers
  • $5 million to continue the Head to Health Pop Up clinics in NSW until 31 December 2022.
  • $500,000 to accelerate the provision of headspace services in the Hawkesbury region due to the impact of the recent floods.
  • $67.2 million (2022–23 to 2025–26) to pilot multidisciplinary care teams in six existing locations delivering trauma-informed mental health therapies designed to meet the needs of victim-survivors, and

Workforce & Governance

The Australian Government is investing $89.2 million to grow the mental health workforce and to strengthen governance across the sector. The Strategy aligns with the National Medical Workforce Strategy 2021–2031 and the vision for a dynamic, responsive and supported workforce that meets our country’s needs now and into the future.

  • $18.3 million to build a contemporary workforce and optimise the existing workforce through developing and piloting the National Mental Health Pathways to Practice Program.
  • $28.6 million to sustain growth in the psychiatry workforce and build on existing
  • investments to support up to 30 additional training posts and supervisors from 2023 to 2026, develop a rural and remote psychiatry training pathway and network, and
  • encourage more medical graduates to pursue psychiatry through the Royal
  • Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
  • $2.2 million to further support the mental health of the health workforce, through the
  • Hand-n-Hand program to provide peer support to the healthcare sector, and the
  • extension of the the Black Dog Institute’s The Essential Network (TEN)
  • $409,000 for stigma reduction and career promotion activities to encourage students to choose a career in mental health
  • $904,000 to establish a mental health workforce strategic coordination and distribution mechanism with an appropriate mix of expertise in health, employment and education policy, to facilitate coordinated activity between governments and industry, and across sectors, and
  • $725,000 for more effective workforce planning by enhancing workforce data and tools.

Check out the fact sheets below for a further breakdown. These will help give you an idea of how the government intends to spend the money.

Budget Mental Health breakdown HERE

Fact sheets:
Pillar 1 – Prevention & Early Intervention
Pillar 2 – Suicide Prevention
Pillar 3 – Treatment
Pillar 4 – Supporting Our Vulnerable
Pillar 5 – Workforce & Governance

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