Organisations directly assisting young people today met with decision makers to discuss issues that affect them most at the latest in a series of Australian Government’s Youth Roundtables, with today’s online event focusing on mental health support.
Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, the Hon Luke Howarth MP, said Youth Roundtables give young people and organisations a chance to share their stories, experiences and ideas on the latest developments in Government policy and programs that affect them.
“I thank the youth organisations who participated in today’s roundtable and shared their insights on the important topic of mental health,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.
“Even before COVID-19, we knew that young people could be vulnerable to mental health issues, and after such a challenging period dealing with the pandemic, these issues are now more important than ever.
“The aim is for the youth organisations to increase awareness of the support available to young people who use their services and events like this help to achieve that goal.
“I also thank the CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, Christine Morgan, who was able to provide an update of some of the initiatives from her agency.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the Government is strongly committed to safeguarding the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians.
“As we’ve responded to the COVID-19 threat on our physical health, we have also ensured mental health services are available and accessible to support early intervention and vulnerable groups, like our youth,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“Since March 2020 and the outbreak of the pandemic, the Australian Government has made available more than $1 billion in funding to respond to the mental health impacts. Funding includes direct supports to respond to the mental health impacts on young people, including for youth-focused organisations such as Kids Helpline and headspace, and other organisations such as Lifeline, the Black Dog Institute, and the Beyond Blue 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
“The Australian Government is delivering the largest single mental health and suicide prevention Commonwealth investment in Australia’s history, investing $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, which includes additional support for young people.
“This includes expanding the national headspace network by establishing ten new headspace centres and upgrading five satellite services, bringing the total number of headspace services across Australia to 164.
“We’re working jointly with states and territories to substantially boost clinical capacity at our headspace services to support more young people, and create up to 15 new Head to Health Kids mental health and wellbeing centres for children aged 0–12 years.
“The Australian Government also funds free or low-cost digital mental health services which offer phone and online counselling, treatment and crisis support, and peer to peer support, which can be accessed through the digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.”
Assistant Minister Howarth said the 2021-22 Budget included a continuing focus on young Australians, with targeted support for education, employment and mental health.
“Both during the pandemic, and as we move beyond it, the Government is supporting young people to get the skills they need to be successful in education work and life,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.
“Australia’s economy is now roaring back thanks to the measures put in place by this Government, including our apprentice wage supports, which have helped the number of trade apprentices hit record levels with more than 220,000 in training right now.
“We’ve put a record $7.1 billion into skills this financial year alone.
“It is fantastic to see youth unemployment falling to levels not seen since 2008, with recent ABS figures showing the youth unemployment rate declined from 10.9 per cent in November 2021, to 9.4 per cent in December 2021.
“Youth Roundtables continue the work of the Youth Policy Framework, the blueprint for how the Government is supporting young Australians and ensuring they can access all the opportunities possible to find training and work.”
For more information on the digital mental health gateway Head to Health, visit: www.headtohealth.gov.au
For more on the Youth Policy Framework go to: www.dese.gov.au/australias-youth-policy-framework