The Albanese Labor Government fails to deliver a real mental health plan in a cost of living crisis

It has taken a full year for Health Minister Mark Butler to announce his plans for mental health after halving Better Access Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions from 20 to 10.

The Minister held a forum in late January to discuss options with those who approved his prior decision to axe the sessions. He put a few million dollars into two lived experience bodies from that meeting.

The funding announced today assists great Australian mental health organisations in continuing their work to provide support to those in need. It also has funding for digital health services, which can assist some people who are not in need of clinical support.

Australia is in the middle of a cost of living and mental health crisis right now. The nation needs strong leadership and bold policy measures to meet these challenges.

Many mental health organisations are telling me that the nation needs real reform. Again, the Health Minister is missing in action on this.

After a year of waiting, where is the Minister’s reform agenda for mental health to deal with the chasms widening for access and the need for better outcomes for Australian children, parents, and seniors in distress.

As a family’s financial burden escalates, so does mental health pressures. With lower real wages, soaring mortgage and rent payments and the cost of essentials such as energy, fuel, and groceries rising under this Albanese Labor Government we need real action.

There are so many people struggling through the cost of living crisis who do not have the capacity to pay the full cost for psychologist sessions they urgently need.

We are also heading into the most stressful, isolating, and lonely time of the year for some people, as the Christmas period is historically a time when suicide rates disturbingly increase.

I have called on the Albanese Labor Government to listen to the Australian people who are crying out for support and want real relief measures to address the rise and spread of mental health issues in Australia, and they have failed to listen.

It is highly unfortunate mental health is not a priority for this Labor Government.

A Dutton-led Coalition Government will reinstate the full Better Access 20 sessions so all Australians with complex mental health challenges can get the psychological care they need with government assistance.

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