Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Respite for mental health carers across Australia

Over 60,000 carers across the country will have improved access to respite services following today’s launch of the Mental Health Respite Program by Community Services Minister Nigel Scullion.

Through funding of $66 million over four years, 54 service providers will purchase respite for carers of people with a mental illness, psychiatric disability or intellectual disability.

The Mental Health Respite Program is part of the Australian Governments $1.9 billion commitment to the Council of Australian Government’s National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006 2011.

‘These services will enable carers, and the people they care for, to access information and respite care tailored to their individual needs and circumstances,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘Respite brokerage services are the first phase of the program and will be delivered immediately through Commonwealth Carer Respite and Carelink Centres.

‘The Centres are run by a wide variety of organisations and are located in metropolitan, rural and remote regions across Australia.

‘The second phase will establish additional respite services to increase the availability of appropriate options to supplement services already available.

‘Different types of respite services may be funded, including in-home respite, out of home respite and short term residential programs such as group homes and supervised holiday options.

‘The Australian Government recognises the important and valuable role played by those family members or friends who care for dependent people at home.

‘We seek to support those carers to take a break from their caring role by providing them with time and space to focus on other commitments or personal needs and aspirations,’ Senator Scullion said.