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Mental illness research a priority for second term

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THE HON MARK BUTLER MP Minister for Mental Health and Ageing


6 December 2010

Mental Illness Research a Priority for Second Term

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today told the Australian Society for Psychiatric Research Annual Conference that encouraging research into mental illness will be an important part of the Australian Government’s second term commitment to a sustainable and effective mental health system.

Minister Butler told participants attending the annual conference that the Gillard Labor Government was committed to building lasting reforms to mental health care and to providing the services that consumers and their families need.

“Mental illness can lead to great suffering in the Australian community including, tragically, loss of life through suicide as well significant direct and indirect economic costs” Minister Butler said.

“All governments are committed under the Fourth National Mental Health Plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014 to improving outcomes for people with mental illness through a wide range of actions including encouraging research into mental health issues.

“The recent injection of $125.7 million into health and medical research - including the areas of dementia care and mental health treatments shows the Gillard Labor Government is taking its responsibilities to mental health reform seriously,” he said.

“The Commonwealth looks forward to working with all state governments and researchers on a national mental health research strategy which will translate into real gains in prevention, treatment and support for people with mental illness and their families.”

Recent additional investments in mental health have included:

 $274 m (over four years) for the Mental Health: Taking action to tackle suicide package  $175.8 m (over five years) as part of the 2010-11 Budget to improve our mental health system now and to address immediate gaps as a part of

the National Health and Hospital Network (NHHN)  $1.6 b (over four years) for the expansion of sub-acute care facilities includes mental health beds as part of the NHHN.

Research into mental health in Australia is being led by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) - Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research.

The NMHRC held a mental health research forum on 28 July 2010 with the aim of gaining information on mental health research activities underway across Australia, and to build on the work of this forum there will be another held in early 2011.

For more information, please contact Mr Butler’s office on 02 6277 7280