ACT Election Announcements

ACT Labor to increase mental health support for young Canberrans during COVID

September 10, 2020

A re-elected Labor Government will continue to invest in more mental health support for Canberra’s young people during COVID-19.

COVID-19 is having significant impact on young people in Canberra. More than half of the young Canberrans that participated in a recent ACT Government survey described their mental health as either ‘fair’ or ‘poor’.

Right now, our city needs a progressive, experienced Government that has the right plan to support our city through this pandemic and help our community recover.

If re-elected, ACT Labor will increase access to resources and timely care that young Canberrans suffering mental health concerns need, increasing our total mental health funding to over $200 million a year.

Labor will deliver the Orygen Digital’s ground‑breaking youth mental health digital platform (MOST), which is specifically designed to empower young people in the management of their mental health and wellbeing.

The platform will complement new and existing face-to-face services and provide young people with online clinical and peer support.

Now more than ever, young people need opportunities to connect online.

However social media use can also increase anxiety and exacerbate mental health challenges.

MOST provides a safe space for young people to connect with one another while receiving evidence-based support and building a personalised toolkit to boost their own resilience.

The online platform be available to almost 5,000 young Canberrans who accessed our Headspace and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) services every year.

While COVID is increasing the amount of mental health services available online, there is a growing body of evidence around the negative impacts of social media on anxiety and resilience.

As part of our mental health package, a re-elected ACT Labor Government will develop a strategy to address concern among children, young people and parents about the excessive use of social media.

Labor recognises that some young people face complex mental health and alcohol and drug challenges.

A re-elected Labor Government will establish a multidisciplinary service to support young people who have mental health needs co-occurring with trauma, disability and/or drug and alcohol abuse.

We will also establish an intensive trauma service for adolescents built on the Melaleuca Place model to support the recovery of 13 to 17-year-olds who have experienced trauma, including abuse or neglect.

These commitments come on top of the significant investments being made to support Canberrans mental health during COVID-19.  Work is already underway to deliver an Adolescent Mental Health Unit and expand our mental health inpatient beds at Canberra Hospital.

A re-elected Labor Government will also continue the successful AMOS and PACER programs.

The pandemic isn’t over, and there is more work to do. But ACT Labor has the right plan to invest in Canberrans and lead our city through the pandemic.