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Kids’ Mental Health Gets Budget Boost In Australia’s New South Wales

Specialist mental health treatment teams for kids and teenagers will be set up across the state, thanks to funding in the budget.

SYDNEY — More than A$100 million ($75.11 million) has been promised in the Australian state of New South Wales budget to establish specialist mental health treatment teams for kids and teenagers across the state.

Some 25 ‘Safeguards‘ teams will be staffed with skilled child and adolescent mental health clinicians, to provide community-based support to kids in acute mental health distress and their families.

The Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office was established by the Australian Government to enhance national and international security by contributing to “effective regimes against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The budget, to be handed down on June 22, includes AU$109.5 million ($82.24 million) over the next four years to set up the program in every local health district.

“This is a game-changer in addressing mental health for children and teenagers,” Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said on June 21.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet poses for a photo outside the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney, June 21, 2021. (Joel Carrett/AAP Image)

“It’s all about bringing the right care at the right time and in the right place to children, adolescents, and their loved ones.”

The clinicians will work with patients for six to eight weeks, providing support at home and school, before transitioning them into longer-term mental health community-based support.

The government has also announced an additional AU$8.5 million ($6.38 million) for refugee and migrant support programs.

The funding, to be spent over three years, will enable the continuation of programs to help newcomers find work, pursue education, access support services, and create community connections.

It comes as an AU$3 million ($2.25 million) program to lure migrants to settle in regional New South Wales launches on June 21.

It is estimated that 45% of Australian, roughly 8.6 million, adults will experience a mental disorder within their life. Additionally, 3.2 million Australians have had a mental disorder that has lasted for more than 12 months.

As per the reports of Black Dog Institute, of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. 54% of people with mental illness do not access any treatment.

In a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, mental and substance use disorders contributed 12% of Australia’s total burden of disease in 2015, making it the fourth highest disease group contributing to total burden. Of the total burden caused by mental and substance use disorders, 98% was due to living with the effects of these disorders.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra)