$1.1 Billion to support more mental health, Medicare and domestic violence services

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more support would be rolling out immediately to deal with the secondary effects of the health and economic crisis caused by corona virus.

Medicare support at home

$669 million will be provided to expand Medicare-subsidized telehealth services for all Australians, with extra incentives to GPS and other health practitioners also delivered.


That included psychology and psychiatrist sessions conducted over both telephone and video consultation services like Face-time. This will take pressure off hospitals and emergency departments and allow people to access essential health services in their home, while supporting self-isolation and quarantine policies.


The GP bulk billing incentive will be doubled for GPS and the new arrangements will be in place until 30 September 2020, when they are reviewed in light of the need to continue the fight against corona virus.


Domestic violence support 

An initial $150 million will be provided to support Australians experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence due to the fallout from corona virus. This funding will boost programs under the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children including:

  • Counseling support for families affected by, or at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence.

  • 1800 RESPECT, the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service, which already answers around 160.000 calls a year.

  • Mensline Australia, the national counseling service for men that provides support for emotional health and relationship concerns for men affected by or considering using violence.

  • Trafficked People Program to support particularly vulnerable cohorts such as victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices.

  • Support programs for women and children experiencing violence.


A new public communication campaign will also roll out to ensure those affected know where they can seek help.


Mental health support

An initial $74 million will be provided to support the mental health and well-being of all Australians.


$10 million will be provided to create a dedicated corona virus well-being support line, delivered by Beyond Blue, to help people experiencing concern due to a corona virus diagnosis or other challenges. The Government welcomes an additional $5 million contribution from Medibank to Beyond Blue to support this vital initiative.


$14 million will bolster the capacity of mental health support providers who have experienced an unprecedented surge in call volumes with funding increasing their capacity, including $5 million for Lifeline and $2 million for Kids Helpline.


$10 million will be provided to the Community Visitors Scheme to ensure that older Australians in aged care are not socially isolated despite visiting restrictions.


$6.75 million will be provided to help younger Australians stay on track in their education and training and prepare them for the workforce.


For Indigenous Australians, whose elders and communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts corona virus, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will develop culturally appropriate mental health and well being resources.


$28.3 million will be utilized to continue to deliver psycho-social support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months.


Relief services for vulnerable Australians


An additional $200 million will be provided to support charities and other community organisations which provide the emergency and food relief as demand surges as a result of corona virus.


The Community Support Package will provide flexible funding to boost support to services where demand is quickly increasing, including:

  • Emergency Relief which will help vulnerable Australians

  • Assistance for food relief organisations to source additional food and transport for emergency relief service providers, and rebuild workforce capacity.

  • Immediately scale-up services through the National Debt Helpline

  • Creating a short-form Financial Counselling course through Financial Counselling Australia.

  • Expanding access to safe, affordable financial products through the No Interest Loan Scheme which provides an immediate financial relief alternative to other high-risk, high-interest products such as credit cards and payday loans.


MORE INFORMATION:

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to https://www.health.gov.au/

Feel free to contact us at office@gordondu-associates.com.au or (08) 9345 0499.


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