WA Primary Health Alliance welcomes the release of the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan, unanimously adopted by the National Cabinet on Friday, 15 May 2020.
Led by the National Mental Health Commission, in collaboration with all jurisdictions and in consultation with stakeholders across the sector, the Plan provides a roadmap for ensuring Australians get the help they require.
It acknowledges the needs of people who are experiencing mental ill health for the first time, as well as those who have had their routine care arrangements disrupted as a result of the pandemic and find it difficult to reconnect.
In support of the Plan, the Commonwealth Government announced an additional $48.1 million to build on its existing commitments to respond to the mental health and suicide prevention priorities that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Part of the additional funding includes an allocation to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to further support groups that have been disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic.
- $19 million to commission in-reach mental health services, provided by mental health nurses, to older adults who have experienced high levels of social isolation and anxiety about illness and death from COVID-19. This funding is expected to involve an expansion of the PHN Psychological Therapy in Residential Aged Care Facilities in-reach initiative.
- $3.5 million to work with local communities to bolster existing services for Aboriginal people as restrictions are lifted. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially those in remote areas, experienced complete lockdown and have been impacted by reduced access to mental health and wellbeing services, education and employment opportunities.
WA Primary Health Alliance is awaiting further guidance from the Australian Government on the scope and timing of each measure and implications for Western Australia.
We will engage with relevant key stakeholders regarding planning and implementation, once further details are known.