‘We can’t afford not to act’: experts on their hopes for mental health in the budget | Ian Hickie, Hazel Dalton, Tegan Carrison

Australia needs to start flattening the mental health curve urgently. The coming budget is an opportunity for action

The 2021 federal budget has been heralded as the point at which the Morrison government will respond, at scale, to the many failings of the mental health system. We spend only $10.6bn a year providing mental health services to over 4 million people. Importantly, there is an increasing divide between the federal government’s reporting and the independent accounting of what monies are spent on mental health. The responsible ministers claim that federal spending has already substantially increased, up from $3.5bn five years ago to $5.9bn in 2020-21.

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