Mental health

Building the capacity of Australia’s mental services is a key element of National Health Reform.

The Government is committed to building a stronger, more transparent, accountable, efficient and effective mental health system. The Government is delivering comprehensive reforms to make a difference to Australians living with mental illness, their families and carers.

Mental health reforms are aimed at building consumer-centred mental health services to ensure Australians with mental illness get timely access to the support they need. This will be achieved through Medicare Locals working with Local Hospital Networks to improve treatment pathways for people with mental health needs. headspace sites will also work with their Medicare Local to ensure strong care coordination for young people.

National Mental Health Reform

In May 2011, the Australian Government announced a $2.2 billion mental health package to fund National Mental Health Reform.

The funding will deliver genuine, practical and sustainable mental health reform to ensure that Australians living with mental illness get the care they need, when they need it. When combined with the 2010 Budget and election commitments, the Government will be providing $2.2 billion over five years for mental health services.

Reforms focus on five key areas:

The package also:

Expansion of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) Program

ATAPS funding was significantly increased in the 2011-12 Budget with an additional $205.9 million to be provided over five years to increase the capacity to provide services to an additional 184,000 people in hard to reach groups - 50,000 children and their families; around 18,000 Indigenous Australians; and around 116,000 people from other hard to reach groups or locations, with a particular focus on low socioeconomic areas.

Partners in Recovery

Through the 2011-12 Budget the Australian Government has committed $549.8 million over five years, including $343.8 million in new funding, to establish the Coordinated Care and Flexible Funding for People with Severe, Persistent Mental Illness and Complex Care Needs measure, also known as the Partners in Recovery initiative.

People experiencing severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs will be supported by the Partners in Recovery initiative, which will:

Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC)

The Commonwealth is planning to establish up to sixteen new early psychosis services, based on the EPPIC model in partnership with state and territory governments.

EPPIC is an integrated and comprehensive mental health service model aimed at addressing the needs of people aged 15-24 with early psychosis.


The 2011-12 Budget allocated $197.3 million over five years, on top of a current commitment of $133.3 million to 2013-14, to expand existing and establish new youth focused mental health services through the headspace program.

Specifically, the 2011-12 Budget measure provides funding for 90 fully sustainable headspace sites across Australia by 2014-15. This will be achieved through boosting funding to the 30 current and 10 developing headspace sites and ensuring a robust funding base for the further 50 sites to be established by 2014-15.

Once all 90 sites are fully established, headspace will help up to 72,000 young people each year.

On 24 October 2011, the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, announced 15 new sites and two outpost sites to be set up across Australia. The new sites have been chosen in conjunction with headspace, and in consultation with state and territory governments on the basis of youth populations, community need, access to existing services and local capacity.

eheadspace also launched on 24 October 2011, provides free, confidential and anonymous counselling services over the phone or online to young people between the ages of 12 and 25 years with, or at risk of developing, a mild to moderate mental illness. eheadspace is an integral supplement to headspace sites, extending the reach of the model to more young people, particularly those in regional and remote Australia.

To contact eheadspace visit the eheadspace website at or call 1800 650 890.

National Mental Health Commission

Preparations are underway to establish Australia’s National Mental Health Commission. The core functions of the Commission will be to provide cross-sectoral leadership in mental health and drive transparency and accountability in the system to deliver better outcomes for consumers and carers.

National Health Reform Progress and Delivery

View the National Health Reform Progress and Delivery report.

More information

For more information visit the Department of Health and Ageing mental health web page at

Seeking help?
Contact . . .

13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467

Kids Help Line
1800 551 800

1300 78 99

1800 650 890

beyondblue support service
1300 22 4636

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Page last updated 15 June, 2011