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Government chips in extra $200 million for mental health

The Federal Government has allocated an extra $200 million under Council of Australian Governments to help fill gaps in accommodation and other support for people with mental health problems. In a measure intended to build on the $2.2 billion mental health package announced in the 2011-12 Budget, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the money - provided under the terms of a new National Partnership Agreement with State and Territory governments - would be used to fund a variety of projects, mostly involving housing and accommodation support for residents with mental health issues.

09 May 2012

The Federal Government has allocated an extra $200 million under Council of Australian Governments to help fill gaps in accommodation and other support for people with mental health problems.

In a measure intended to build on the $2.2 billion mental health package announced in the 2011-12 Budget, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the money - provided under the terms of a new National Partnership Agreement with State and Territory governments - would be used to fund a variety of projects, mostly involving housing and accommodation support for residents with mental health issues.

The announcement follows the release of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures showing the number of workers in the mental health system is growing.

The number of psychiatrists, including psychiatrists in training, per 100,000 people increased at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent between 2005 and 2009, according to the Institute.

Nationally, there were 18 full-time equivalent psychiatrists per 100,000 people, including a ratio of 7 per 100,000 in areas classified as inner regional, 5 per 100,000 in outer regional areas and 3 per 100,000 in remote and very remote areas.

The highest psychiatrist to population ratio was recorded, unsurprisingly, in the major cities, with a national average of 23 per 100,000. Practitioners in these areas reported working an average of 40 hours per week including both clinical and non-clinical hours.

Psychiatrists in training worked slightly longer average hours per week than their fully qualified colleagues, putting in on average 44.9 hours per week compared with 39.1 hours.

The Institute study found that, as at 2009, the average age of psychiatrists was 52 years, and more than two-thirds were male.

The number of nurses who work principally in mental health increased at an average annual rate of 1.5 between 2005 and 2009.

Nationally, there were 69 full-time equivalent nurses per 100,000 people in 2009, and on average they worked 37 hours per week.

KW


Published: 09 May 2012