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$160m mental health boost to fill system gaps

A national funding boost will address service gaps for Australians who aren’t covered by the NDIS

A multi-million dollar national mental health plan will address the service gaps for Australians who aren’t covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Health Minister, Greg Hunt, announced the $160 million fund, rolled out next month, for a new national psychosocial measure for people with severe mental illness. This follows an agreement between the federal, state and territory governments.

“It will help people for whom the NDIS was not designed, but who will benefit from specialised but less intense psychosocial services, such as individual and group assistance and rehabilitation,” Hunt said, adding that the fund would go towards “ensuring these people don’t miss out on crucial support.”

The federal government will provide $80 million over four years, beginning in July, with state and territory government matching the commitment.

Mental Health Australia chief Executive, Frank Quinlan, welcomed the announcement, adding that there has been ongoing concern for those who are ineligible for the NDIS but still need support from community-based services.

“Because many of the programs that previously provided that support are being wound up in order to make way for the NDIS, there’s been a gap,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan added that it was important that the state and federal governments have collaborated to see this $160 million fund through.

“I don’t think this is going to be enough to close the gap but I do think this is going to give us some really good information about the sorts of programs that work and that are most effective,” Quinlan said.

“I think it’s a really important first step in resolving these issues.”

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