Member for Reid, Dr Fiona Martin MP, has welcomed the Morrison Government’s investment of $550,000 over two years to support children and young people who have a parent or guardian with a mental illness.
Before entering Parliament, Dr Martin worked as an educational and developmental psychologist.
She said this funding will be vital in supporting families in her electorate of Reid and around the country by providing targeted prevention and intervention strategies for those at risk of developing inter-generational mental illness.
“Children of parents with a mental illness are at a greater risk of experiencing a range of behavioural, education, social and developmental challenges,” Dr Martin said. “They are also at a higher risk of experiencing their own mental health difficulties.”
One in five Australians aged 16-85 experiences a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety and substance use disorder.
The restrictions necessary to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have meant vulnerable children have faced greater caring responsibilities and may have had fewer opportunities to maintain their own mental wellbeing.
The Satellite Foundation, which provides support to children of parents with mental illness, in partnership with Emerging Minds, will receive funding to boost its existing support by:
– Increasing the availability of targeted programs for children and young people who have a parent with a mental illness.
– Expanding and supporting the Satellite Foundation’s peer support network.
– Helping make sense of what is happening when a parent experiences mental illness by increasing the availability of mental health and wellbeing information and resources for children, young people and their families.
“This funding will ensure that young people who have a parent with mental illness have the skills, strategies, and confidence to manage the challenges they face and harness their full potential,” Dr Martin said. “It will help them break the cycle of mental illness.”
The funding is being provided under the Government’s $74 million package to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during the coronavirus pandemic.
This measure will complement the support provided to young people across Australia through the national network of headspace services and eheadspace.
Through record investments in mental health services and support, with expenditure estimated to be $5.2 billion this year alone, the Government continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.
Since 30 January, the Government has provided approximately $500 million in extra funding for mental health services and support, including $64 million for suicide prevention, $74 million for preventative mental health services, and $48 million to support the pandemic response plan.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.