The Government will work with States and Territories to address gaps in their mental health systems through a new $201 million National Partnership Agreement on mental health.
The States and Territories play an integral role in providing acute care, housing and accommodation, education, and social supports for people with mental illness.
The main role of the States and Territories in mental health care is providing specialist community mental health services and inpatient care, which is predominantly provided to people with severe mental illness.
The Government recognises that some states have made improvements to their mental health care system, but there remains substantial variation in the range and type of services that are available across the country. This causes service gaps and results in people with the same illness and needs receiving services based on local availability rather than their actual service needs.
The Government will take a national leadership role and provide incentives to the States and Territories to address known gaps in their mental health systems by committing $201 million over five years to a new National Partnership Agreement on mental health.
The National Partnership will use a competitive process to leverage the States and Territories to achieve measurable improvements in their mental health systems, focusing on accommodation support, and presentation, admission and discharge planning from the emergency departments of hospitals.
This will help to improve system‑wide access to, and coordination of, services for people with severe mental illness. It will also take pressure off hospitals by helping break the cycle of hospitalisation and unplanned readmission, and the associated high costs of care, so that people can stay well.
The Government is already providing significant funding to the States and Territories for sub‑acute beds for mental health patients through existing COAG investments.
This investment will also build on the Government's substantial commitment to address homelessness, and help tackle the high levels of homelessness among people with mental illness.