Open Minds welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement that it will invest $8.5 million to enable those with lived experience to shape the nation’s mental health policies and programs.
This announcement followed the Mental Health Equity and Access Forum (the Forum) held in Canberra on 30 January 2023. The forum was attended by 80 representatives across the mental health sector and was hosted by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Honourable Mark Butler MP with support from the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Emma McBride.
An investment of $7.5m will form two independent national peak bodies for mental health lived experience – one that represents consumers, and another representing their carers, families and kin.
The remaining $1 million comprises of $100,000 to establish a regular stakeholder forum and $900,000 for Lived Experience Australia to continue its work leading lived experience research and consumer and carer capacity building.
Open Minds Chief Operating Officer, Kate Johnson welcomes the funding for peak bodies as an important step in recognising expertise from people with lived or living experience of mental illness and their courage in improving mental health services for Australians.
“Despite Government efforts to increase access, there is still a long way to go towards building a truly equitable mental health system,” said Kate. “An equitable mental health system is one that provides easily accessible support no matter where you live or what your socioeconomic background is.
“Having those with lived experience giving their voice to the framework of mental health in Australia is a promising step to building this access.
“We look forward to building more opportunities to help communities needing mental health support in partnership with our key stakeholders, including various levels of Government,” said Kate.
Open Minds is proud to have increased access to mental health services for flood affected communities through its Head to Health Hub in Lismore since August 2021.
For more information about Open Minds services, please visit our website.