Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Funding extension provides certainty to people with mental illness and their carers

The Abbott Government has today announced it will extend funding for two programmes that provides support for people with a mental illness and their carers.

Organisations that currently receive funding to provide services under the Personal Helpers and Mentors programme will have their contracts extended to 30 June 2016.

Providers who deliver services under the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support programme will also have their funding extended.

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services, said the funding extension will ensure supports are maintained as the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme continues across the country.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting people who are severely impacted by mental illness, as well as those who care for them,” Minister Fifield said.

“The extension of these contracts will ensure people living with mental illness and those who care for them can still access these support services.”

The Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) programme offers one-to-one support to people aged 16 and over who are severely impacted by mental illness.

To deliver maximum flexibility for PHaMs providers as they prepare to operate in an open market under the NDIS, some funding arrangements may change to adapt to the NDIS model,” Minister Fifield said.

The Mental Health Respite: Carer Support programme helps carers of people with mental illness to improve their wellbeing and enable them to maintain their important caring role.

Minister Fifield said there will be no immediate changes for Mental Health Respite: Carer Support providers. Changes can be expected over time as the transition to NDIS continues, to ensure there are effective supports for families and carers in their caring roles.

“This one-year funding extension will help ensure a smooth transition to the NDIS for these services,” Minister Fifield said.