Health

WA youth to receive major increase to mental health services under WA Labor

Posted on February 12, 2021
  • More than $122 million to increase mental health services to young people under re-elected McGowan Labor Government
  • Projects to be funded include long term housing for young people, new Step-Up/Step-Down facility in metropolitan Perth, a forensic outreach service, an expansion of youth mental health community treatment centres and psychosocial support packages to help young people live in the community
  • Funding will also be used to expand the Youth Community Assessment and Treatment Team, to provide Drug Education Support Services, support for the WA AIDS Council, and to expand the Alcohol. Think Again program.
  • Part of a $361.6 million package to address critical gaps in the mental health system

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest more than $122 million in the expansion of mental health services to young people as part of a $361.6 million package to address critical gaps in the mental health system.

Under the proposal, $18.2 million will be spent on funding long term housing and support for young people, as well as clinical, psychosocial and alcohol and other drug supports to help them in their recovery and with living independently in the community.

A new $10.6 million ten-bed Youth Step Up/Step Down (SUSD) facility will be established in the metropolitan area for young people aged 16-24 years with a mental health issue, and (if applicable) co-occurring alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues.

Other initiatives to be funded include:

  • $12.6 million to implement the Child, Adolescent and Youth Forensic Outreach Service (CAYFOS) for young people aged between 10 and 24 with mental health and/or alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues who are at risk of, have been or are currently in contact with the criminal justice system, requiring specialist adolescent forensic support.
  • $10 million to expand the youth mental health community treatment services, more than doubling the funding for flexible, trauma-informed, culturally secure evidence-based multidisciplinary care for young people (13 to 24 years) with complex, severe mental health problems. 
  • $35.3 million to expand the Youth Community Assessment and Treatment Team (YCATT) community outreach service to the entire Metro area, a community outreach service that provides developmentally appropriate acute and intensive community assessment, treatment and case management for young people aged 16 to 24. 
  • $9.8 million to provide Drug Education Support Services (DESS) workers at Youth Accommodation and Support Services, to provide counselling, support and referrals, education on AOD harm minimisation and protective factors, and family engagement.
  • $9.5 million for Psychosocial support packages for young people to assist more young people living in the community, either independently or in the family home, to increasingly participate in and contribute to community, social, and economic life
  • $9.2 million to expand the Strong Spirit Strong Mind Metro Project, an Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol awareness project (the Project), to the entire state.
  • $6.7 million to expand the Alcohol. Think Again – Parents, Young People and Alcohol Campaign, part of a comprehensive approach in Western Australia that aims to reduce the level of alcohol-related harm and ill-health in Western Australia.
  • Support for the WA AIDS Council to continue providing peer-based support and education for youth who identify as LGBTIQA+ across Western Australia

These new initiatives build on WA Labor’s $64 million commitment to increase psychological support for WA students. 

The commitments come in addition to the McGowan Government’s record $1 billion investment in mental health, alcohol and other drug services announced in 2020, which includes $46.9 million for suicide prevention programs and $25.1 million for a new 16 bed youth mental health, alcohol and other drug homelessness service in the Perth metropolitan area.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all of us, mental health and wellbeing has become more important than ever.

“Young people have been particularly impacted, with many having to study via remote learning and feeling anxious about the future.

“This package will help young people struggling with their mental health and help keep Western Australia strong.”

Media contact: Jamie Macdonald 0457 535 224

RECORD IN GOVERNMENT:

In 2020, the McGowan Labor Government announced a record $1 billion for mental health, alcohol and other drug services in the 2020 State Budget, $306 million of that being additional funding towards mental health services. This includes:

  • $46.9 million for suicide prevention programs and initiatives across the state
  • $25.1 million for a new 16-bed youth mental health, alcohol and other drug homelessness service in the Perth metropolitan area
  • $24.5 million to establish a 20-bed adult community care unit

The budget also outlined a number of Aboriginal-specific mental health initiatives including:

  • $19.8 million for mental health initiatives to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, including $9.8 million for Aboriginal suicide prevention plans and $10 million under the Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing package
  • $6.8 million in 2020-21 to fund the Aboriginal Community Connectors program to help improve community safety and reduce community consequences of alcohol and drug related at risk behaviours

The Government also allocated an additional $4.8 million to programs to provide additional suicide prevention support to all Western Australians as part of the WA Recovery Plan, including:

  • aftercare support following a suicide attempt through a peer-based approach
  • providing support and meeting the needs of those affected by a suicide death
  • increasing capacity of services that provide long term support to children who have been bereaved by a suicide death
  • improving community-level data collection for suicide prevention