TURNBULL’S CUTS TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

The Turnbull Government’s decision to cut funding to early psychosis intervention services by up to 70 per cent over the next two financial years as part of its mental health reforms will jeopardise the care and treatment currently available to an extremely vulnerable group of young people in Australia.

The six early psychosis centres, who support hundreds of young people with psychotic disorders, have been told that their budgets will be cut by 25% on 1st July 2016 and  by 70% the year after that.

This decision has thrown the future of Headspace's successful early psychosis programs into doubt with very little time to prepare the young people who use the services or the staff who work with them.

These services will have no option but to reduce treatment for young people with psychosis in the short term with the on-going viability of the service seriously put in doubt by the funding cuts created by the government’s decision.

It is totally unreasonable for these programs to be given just a matter of weeks to find a way to provide services to an extremely vulnerable group of young people with serious mental health illnesses whilst at the same time absorbing a 25% funding cut and preparing for further substantial cuts in 12 months’ time.   

Early psychosis intervention is proven to help young people who are at the more severe end of the mental illness spectrum and it is clear that early intervention is crucial to stop conditions worsening and placing greater pressure on the health system.

When announcing the Turnbull Government’s mental health reforms Sussan Ley said:

“There won't be any turning away of anyone.” – Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, Press Conference, November 26, 2015.

How can the Minister live up to this claim when her decisions will reduce funding for early psychosis funding on 1st July 

The Minister must explain why these funding cuts are necessary and how young people with psychosis will be provided with the care that they need come 1st July.

FRIDAY, 29 APRIL 2016

Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.