Encouraging commitment to addressing a complex social public health problem: Suicide Prevention Australia on 2017/18 Budget

10 May 2017

Australia, 10 May 2017: Suicide Prevention Australia welcomes this week’s budget allocations, essential to making suicide prevention election commitments a reality.

SPA Director Matthew Tukaki says of the announcement, “We are pleased to see Government commitment to mental health and suicide prevention reflected in the Budget and are particularly encouraged by action taken to further address social and economic challenges. We are keen to work with our Members and colleagues to better understand the implications of the Budget announcements that may impact the social determinants of suicide.” Access the speech and the complete Budget papers here.

Suicide is a complex social issue that needs sustained investment and leadership. As the peak body, Suicide Prevention Australia remains steadfast in its focus on enabling quality suicide prevention services. This includes continuing to advocate for a National Office and legislation to ensure suicide prevention stays on the political agenda, as well as reviewing the effectiveness and scalability of investment made.

Suicide Prevention Australia Deputy CEO Kim Borrowdale adds, “Alongside lived experience experts, members and colleagues, Suicide Prevention Australia has worked tirelessly in public and in the halls of Parliament to help funders and policy makers understand just why suicide prevention is so important, and what they should do about it. We are thankful for the support to date by business, government and community and look forward to closely monitoring the ongoing commitment to suicide prevention both nationally and regionally.”

Headline suicide prevention and mental health related 2017/18 Budget announcements, many of which were advocated for by Suicide Prevention Australia and its members, include:

  • $170 million for mental health services
  • $80 million commitment over four years for people who had been at risk of losing their mental health support services during the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Treasurer Scott Morrison said people with mental illnesses including "severe depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and post-natal depression" would be covered under this scheme, for those requiring psychosocial services. This federal funding "is contingent on a matching commitment from the states and territories".
  • $9 million over four years for telehealth services in regional, rural and remote communities.
  • $15 million over two years for research into mental health, including Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, the Black Dog  Institute in collaboration with Hunter Institute, and Thompson Institute.
  • $11 million over three years will target suicide as "high risk" locations. There's $9 million for state and territory governments to build prevention installations such as fences, barriers and lighting at notorious spots, and $2 million for Lifeline to continue suicide prevention services.
  • $58 million for mental health prevention and support for ADF members and families. It includes expanded access to counselling, and pilot programs to tackle suicide prevention.

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Media Contact: Kim Borrowdale 0406 149 099 kimb@suicidepreventionaust.org

About Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA): SPA provides national leadership for the suicide prevention sector in Australia. SPA works collaboratively to develop a community that knows how to ask for help and how to give help. 

As the lead agency of the National Suicide Prevention Coalition, we build and facilitate partnerships to change attitudes to mental illness and suicidal behaviours, and seek to harness the voices of professionals and those with lived experience of suicide attempts and suicide.

www.suicidepreventionaust.org