Mental health services including Headspace, Beyond Blue and Lifeline will receive a $12 million funding boost as the Government seeks to support young Australians in “severe distress”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the extra funding on Thursday morning, with $5 million to be targeted to Headspace, another $2 million to Kids Helpline, $2.5 million to Lifeline and $2.5 million to Beyond Blue.
The Headspace funding is designed to boost outreach services to young Australians in “severe distress”, Morrison said.
“This will particularly focus on Year 11 and Year 12 students, young people who have lost their jobs and tertiary students,” he said.
“The funding will be used to recruit and train additional outreach workers who will connect with young people in the community under supervision of the experienced Headspace staff members.”
Morrison said there are many more young people connecting with Headspace and Beyond Blue, driving the need for further funding.
New research from the Productivity Commission last week revealed that young Australians face career scarring as continued wage suppression stemming from the Global Financial Crisis is compounded by the Covid-19 economic downturn.
In June, the unemployment rate for Aussies aged between 20 and 24 hit 13.9 per cent, while those between 25 and 24 saw unemployment hit 7.5 per cent.
That isn’t helped by a consistently poor jobs market for young people since the GFC which has led to higher part-time unemployment and lower wages.
The University of Melbourne’s Covid-19 Youth Unemployment Survey (YES) confirmed young Australians were struggling in the current jobs market, and their mental health was suffering as a result.
“Losing your job and the supports that comes along with it means that your financial stability is at risk, and so is your mental state,” said YES Youth Advisory Group member, 20-year-old Rhiannon Jones.
“Not all of us are equipped or resilient enough to bounce back into an unsteady job market.”
Jones said a good job not only boosts income but also young people’s lives.
“We are able to be held accountable, be productive, work towards goals, interact with others, have a sense of accomplishment and so many other factors that are invaluable,” Jones said.
Beyond Blue, Kids Helpline and Lifeline receive funding boost
The remaining $7.5 million will be split between Beyond Blue, Kids Helpline and Lifeline.
Beyond Blue will use the funding to increase its counsellor webchat facilities and also increase capacity for people with complex needs. These people will now be able to access an additional five sessions.
Kids Helpline will be able to increase its call answer rate as it experiences increased demand.
Victorians will also receive additional support in the form of 10 additional individual psychological therapy sessions under Medicare.
“If you need help, reach out. Help is there, support is there,” Morrison said.
“Additional support is being provided. If you're aware of someone who may need help, talk to them about that. Show them the apps… Australians, we've got to talk about these issues openly in the middle of this pandemic crisis, and I encourage all Australians to have those open conversations.
“Be clear, if you're feeling vulnerable, let people know. We're all there to help.”
Lifeline: 13 11 14.
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.
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