Australian Prime Minister delivers key mental health speech at Orygen

Australian Prime Minister delivers key mental health speech at Orygen

16 November 2020

Orygen welcomed the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP to its Parkville facility today where he delivered an address on mental health and announced the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into Mental Health and the National Suicide Prevention Advisor’s Interim Advice.

The Prime Minister said, according to the Productivity Commission, the cost of mental ill-health to the Australian community was at least $200 billion. He recognised that both reports found that the mental health system as it stands is complex and fragmented and that people were falling through the gaps as a result.

Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen, said the Prime Minister’s passionate engagement with this once-in-a-generation opportunity for mental health reform inspired confidence that practical building blocks would be assembled to ensure the missing middle – those people who are unable to readily access mental health care – would be provided with multidisciplinary expert care in the community. 

“The emphasis on emerging adults as the generation who need affirmative action in mental health care was reassuring,” Professor McGorry said.

Prime Minister Morrison identified three directions for reform:

1) Preventing mental ill-health, through a strong economy, strong community connections and a safety net.  Housing, employment and psychosocial supports were all seen as being crucial for good mental health. 

2) A comprehensive, compassionate system that provides the right care, at the right time.

3) A system that puts the lived experience of people with mental ill-health and their carers at the centre.

Although the government will respond fully to the Productivity Commission report through the 2021/22 budget in May, the Prime Minister did announce a number of funding commitments today. These included:

  • extension of the Early Psychosis Youth Services program for a further year to June 2022 ($53 million);
  • extension of the national mental health education initiative, Be You, delivered by Beyond Blue, for a further two years ($46 million); and
  • extending the work of Emerging Minds for a further two years ($16 million).

Orygen looks forward to reviewing the Productivity Commission report in full over the coming days and developing a formal response.  You can access the Productivity Commission’s final report here.