The Coalition is spending $503 million on a youth mental health and suicide prevention plan that it says is the largest in Australia’s history and includes Indigenous suicide prevention.
The government estimates it will spend $4.9 billion on all its mental health programs this year, but it faces calls from experts for an overhaul of the system to make it easier for Australians to access services.
Grattan Institute health program director Stephen Duckett warned in April that state and federal services were not delivering on promises, leading to “yet another fail” in the wider health system.
“The latest Panglossian national status report on mental health gives no hint of the underlying problems of poor access, misdirected funding, lack of teamwork, and appalling rates of suicide in Indigenous communities,” Dr Duckett wrote.
The batyr programs, set up by founder Sebastian Robertson, include sending team members to schools to talk to students about mental health, stress and looking after their friends.
“This is a program for young people, designed by young people,” Mr Morrison said in a statement before his announcement.
Mr Morrison said tackling mental health challenges for young Australians would be a “key focus” of his government.