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More and better support for the Severely Mentally Ill

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More and Better Support for the Severely Mentally Ill

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today visited the Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia (MIFSA) to see firsthand the impact local mental health services will have as a result of the Gillard Government’s $2.2 billion mental health reform package.

Mental health needs a long term investment and a long term strategy and we are delivering both.

A key component of the Gillard Government’s package will provide additional funding for personal helpers and mentors who can make a huge difference to the lives of the severely mentally ill and their families.

The Government will invest $208 million to expand the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program which provides practical one-on-one support to help participants find and retain employment, improve relationships with family and friends and manage everyday tasks such as using public transport and housekeeping.

Under this program, the number of personal helpers and mentors across Australia will increase by 425, to provide an extra 3,400 people living with a mental illness with the intensive care and support that they need to reconnect to health care, the work force and the community.

A further 18,000 Australians with severe mental illness will also be helped by the $19.3 million boost to the Day-to-Day Living program, which will help people experiencing social isolation by supporting them to access a variety of social activities in their local community.

This program will help people with persistent mental illness to participate in social, recreational and educational activities so they can start to live an independent and healthy life in the community.

Backing up both these programs will be funding of local care facilitation organisations, more flexible care packages and a new national assessment framework to help people with severe and persistent mental illness to better manage their health, participate in the

community and stay out of hospital.

Greater coordination and integration of the services people with a mental illness and their families need is one of the cornerstones of this package. This new package will go a long way to helping them properly manage their health, participate in the community and stay out of hospital.

Adelaide 19 May 2011

Prime Minister’s Press Office: (02) 6277 7744 Minister Roxon’s Office: (02) 6277 7220 Minister Butler’s Office: (02) 6277 7280