To ensure Tasmanians can get the right care, at the right time and in the right place, a re-elected majority Gutwein Liberal Government will invest an additional $56 million to continue our transformation of the mental health system, alcohol and drug services, and boost preventative health measures.
New funding of $26 million will be invested in mental health including an exciting new initiative, an Emergency Mental Health Co-Response Team.
This two year trial in southern Tasmania will see mental health workers, including clinicians, travel with police and ambulance officers to attend mental health-specific Triple 000 calls.
Designed to meet growing demand, this innovative service is based on a successful pilot in the ACT, which resulted in 80 per cent of people seen by the team being able to stay in the community, with only 12 per cent of people requiring transport to the emergency department, compared to 56 per cent previously.
This initiative will deliver better outcomes for Tasmanians, increase the capacity of police and ambulance services, and reduce hospitalisations. Within our first 100 days, a re-elected Liberal Government will commence developing the operational service model for the pilot.
We will also invest $8.5 million over two years for a Mental Health Hospital in the Home pilot in the north-west. This will enable people, who may have otherwise had to be hospitalised, to receive intensive, short-term support in their own home.
We will also focus on the prevention of mental ill-health with a whole-of-community approach for all Tasmanians, by increasing the capacity of A Tasmanian Lifeline (1800 98 44 34) and the Mental Health Council of Tasmania’s Check-In website to provide one-stop advice and information, and build the capacity of communities so Tasmanians can better understand and engage with their mental health, and stay well, by targeting mental health literacy initiatives in collaboration with local government.
$500,000 will also be invested to commence the roll-out of Rethink 2020, Tasmania’s new overarching mental health plan, including a focus on suicide prevention.
We are learning more all the time about suicide, and through the Tasmanian Suicide Register, we are able to deliver more targeted suicide prevention initiatives. We will also update Tasmania’s Suicide Prevention Strategies, including our first Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, with community consultation.
These mental health investments are in addition to the $41.2 million announced in March to fully fund our fundamental shift in the delivery of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and our major mental health redevelopments at the Peacock Centre and St John’s Park to create 27 short-term recovery beds and co-located services in the community.
We recognise the growing demand for alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services which is why a re-elected Liberal Government will invest $10 million into the sector.
This will include extending funding for 65 community based residential rehabilitation beds across the State, ensuring there is help for those seeking to detox, need counselling, and education, as well as ensure increased support for groups like the Salvation Army’s Street Teams.
We will also provide funding to the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council to employ an AOD Reform Agenda Project Officer for three years, and provide more support for the Drug Education Network to continue their response to the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
Importantly, we will further prioritise prevention and early intervention, empowering Tasmanians to improve their own health and wellbeing with a major boost of $20 million.
This new investment includes $4.5 million to trial three Tasmanian Community Health and Wellbeing Networks; an innovative new approach in partnership with Health Consumers Tasmania, to empower communities to lead changes in their health needs.
The Liberals recognise how important it is to strengthen the focus on preventative health to reduce pressure on our health system and to help Tasmanians live longer and healthier lives.
That’s why we are backing our next Healthy Tasmania 5 Year Strategic Plan with $10 million, and providing a further $8 million in grants to support community based projects that promote good health and wellbeing.
We will also fund an expansion of the Heart Foundation’s Walking program, and Diabetes Tasmania’s successful COACH program for type 2 diabetes.
These are just some of the mental health and wellbeing initiatives. The full policy is available here.