22 May 2018

ACT Government announces $22.8 million for mental health accommodation and services

| Lachlan Roberts
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Mental health funding

Peace of mind: Government increases funding for accommodation for persons with mental illness.

In an ACT Government 2018 pre-Budget announcement, Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury today (22 May) has promised an additional $22.8 million over four years to provide accommodation for Canberrans struggling with mental health problems.

The funding amounts to $12.2 million for infrastructure costs and a further $10.7 million to manage and run the facilities which will include a new 24-hour service for up to 15 people with complex, severe and persistent mental illness.

Mr Rattenbury said the 2018 Budget would expand the number of beds available for people with the highest needs and will deliver a significant increase in funding for services to support mental health and recovery.

“This Budget will deliver a significant increase in funding for services that support Canberrans to manage their mental health and recovery and include funding to complete a Step-Up-Step-Down facility on the south side of Canberra to provide short-term intensive and structured recovery care,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Mr Rattenbury said the four-year funding would also aim to refurbish the 10-bed extended care unit at the Brian Hennessey Rehabilitation Centre in Bruce to provide an upgraded secure facility so patients can gradually transition into supported accommodation.

“These new investments will complement the mental health rehabilitation services soon to open at the University of Canberra Hospital, which include both an inpatient ward and an expanded day service for mental health consumers,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury said the investment in mental health accommodation and support services would significantly boost the frontline care Canberrans can access when they, or their loved ones, are in need of support.

“Around one-third of Canberrans will need mental health care at some stage in their lives. This means that our local services and facilities have to expand as our population grows so that people can access the right care when they need it,” he said.

“As our city grows, we are seeing increased demand for mental health services, from early intervention and prevention measures, through to emergency and intensive support.

“By investing $22.8 million in supported accommodation, we are delivering greater support, both for people experiencing severe mental health episodes, and those managing chronic conditions.”

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More window dressing from a minister incapable of providing for the most vulnerable people in the ACT. $23m over 4 years for only 15 people at any one time?

How about the 400 people in the jail, which is the actually largest (and most rubbish) provider of mental health services in the ACT? The jail with the highest rate of recidivism nationally and ridiculously high levels of substance abuse (a mental illness) and violence (because of the mental illness)…

And how about Oaks Estate, with the Vinnies program for 100 people suffering complex mental illness?

I’m so sick of Rattenbury posing like he cares when the reality for all the victims is the opposite.

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