Government Commits Funding for Mental Illness Support
Wednesday, 4th April 2012 at 3:40 pm
The Federal Government has committed $8.1 million in funding for Australians with a severe mental illness to gain access to practical support services.
The Minister for Community Services, Jenny Macklin, said that the funding will employ 36 new workers in 17 community organisations across Australia from May.
Macklin said it will also extend funding for existing workers in eight of the organisations for up to two years.
The new workers will join more than 1,000 existing personal helpers and mentors said to be already working one-on-one with people with mental illness across Australia to give them much-needed support.
“These 36 new workers are the first of 425 new personal helpers and mentors to be supported by the Gillard Government over the next five years under the national mental health reform package,” Macklin said.
An independent evaluation last year of Government/ community mental health initiatives such as Personal Helpers and Mentors program found that these services are making real improvements to the lives of people with mental illness across regional and metropolitan Australia.
Macklin said that the new investment will expand the Personal Helpers and Mentors initiative, as part of an “unprecedented” $2.2 billion investment by the government into mental health services.
“Personal helpers and mentors provide practical and intensive support to people with mental illness and help them to set and achieve personal goals,” Macklin said.
“This can include finding suitable housing, looking for work or improving relationships with family and friends.”
Macklin said that the new workers will deliver support in areas identified as needing extra support, such as Boggabilla in New South Wales and George Town in Tasmania.
“By working with mentors, people with mental illness can build their confidence, improve their health and wellbeing and increase connections with their community, reducing social isolation,” Macklin said.