Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Mental health boost for young people and their families

Joint Media Release with:

  • Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

The Gillard Government is investing more than $9.7 million for new family mental health services in 11 communities across Australia to help children and young people get a good start in life.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, visited the Benevolent Society in Campbelltown today to announce that they and other community organisations will share in the funding to deliver early intervention services in high-need areas.

“This funding will deliver much-needed services to more than 500 young people who experience or are at risk of mental health issues,” Ms Macklin said.

“It will mean families can make sure their kids are getting some extra help for things like going to school, getting involved in the community and building better relationships with family and friends.”

Services delivered under the program could include counselling, individual and family wellbeing plans, community outreach and referrals.

“These new services will focus on addressing behavioural problems as soon as they are identified.

“We know that providing this sort of early support is critical and can help lead to better outcomes later in life.”

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the services announced today are 11 of 40 new Family Mental Health Support services to be rolled out over five years, as part of a $61 million commitment in the 2011 Budget.

“These services are part of the Gillard Government’s unprecedented $2.2 billion mental health reform package,” Mr Butler said.

“We’ll keep supporting programs like this because we know how important they are for people living with mental health problems, their families and communities.

“By recognising the signs early on and working with families to provide support, we can make sure our young people have better access to the assistance they need.”

“Young people can face all sorts of pressures, be it problems at school, with friends or at home, and many families aren’t sure how to help their kids cope,” Ms Macklin said.

“These practical services are a way for families to get some extra support and make sure their kids are on the right track.”

The Government has also announced additional funding to help carers of people living with mental illness access support services.

Carers Australia will receive more than $1 million over the next two years to deliver specialised counselling services for about 1,000 carers of people experiencing mental health related illness.

Counselling will be targeted to carers’ individual needs through either one-on-one, web-based, telephone or group support.

The Schizophrenia Fellowship of New South Wales will also receive $660,000 over the next two years to continue its On Fire program, which supports young people caring for parents or siblings with mental health issues in South East Sydney, Campbelltown, Wagga Wagga and Newcastle.

On Fire provides services such as peer support, life skills development, mental health education and other activities such as camps and day excursions.

Organisations delivering the new Family Mental Health Support services announced today will each receive $882,600 over the next two years.

Organisations receiving Family Mental Health Support Services funding:





The Benevolent Society



Mission Australia



Mission Australia



Break Thru People Solutions



CatholicCare Victoria/Tasmania

Greater Shepparton


Family Life



Drummond Street Services

Greater Geelong


Uniting Communities



The Benevolent Society



Mercy Family Services



Relationships Australia WA