Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

More local support for people with mental illness

Joint Media Release with:

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

More Australians with severe mental illness will have access to practical support services with $8.1 million in funding from the Gillard Government.

From May, the funding will employ 36 new workers in 17 community organisations across Australia, and extend funding for existing workers in eight of these organisations for up to two years.

This investment extends and expands the successful Personal Helpers and Mentors initiative, as part of an unprecedented $2.2 billion investment by the Government into mental health services.

These 36 new workers are the first of 425 new personal helpers and mentors to be supported by the Gillard Government over the next five years under the national mental health reform package.

Personal helpers and mentors provide practical and intensive support to people with mental illness and help them to set and achieve personal goals. This can include finding suitable housing, looking for work or improving relationships with family and friends.

By working with mentors, people with mental illness can build their confidence, improve their health and wellbeing and increase connections with their community, reducing social isolation.

The new workers will join more than 1,000 existing personal helpers and mentors who are already working one-on-one with people with mental illness across Australia to give them much-needed support.

They will deliver support in areas identified as needing extra support, such as Boggabilla in New South Wales and George Town in Tasmania.

An independent evaluation last year of Government community mental health initiatives, such as Personal Helpers and Mentors, found that these services are making real improvements to the lives of people with mental illness right across regional and metropolitan Australia.

The Government’s continued support of personal helpers and mentors means more Australians with mental illness getting the care and support they need, when they need it.