On Friday 15 May 2020 National Cabinet endorsed the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Plan.
The Plan acknowledges the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the mental health and wellbeing of so many Australians, including mental health impacts from economic downturn through loss of income and job losses.
We have seen these impacts in increased calls for help to our crisis and support services, with Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Kids Helpline together receiving over 130,000 contacts in the last month, an increase of between 25 and 56 per cent for each service, compared with the same time last year.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Plan has three core objectives to:
Meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of all Australians to reduce the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short and long term;
Outline seven key principles and 10 key priorities to inform the jurisdictions as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19 during the response and recovery from the pandemic; and
Define governance, coordination and implementation requirements across jurisdictions to facilitate informed planning and decision making
The Commonwealth Government has also committed to investing $48.1 million to assist the plan.
All governments agreed the need for each jurisdiction to ensure Australians receive the mental health services and support they require at this time, and in the coming phases of recovery and rebuilding.
Strong mental health will be a foundation stone as we move ahead, not just to productivity and the economy, but to family wellbeing, social cohesion, community functioning and national resilience.
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
Senator for Western Australia