The ACT Greens have today promised a further $47.35 million in mental health funding, which would include more supported accommodation and an expansion of the Police, Ambulance, Clinician Emergency Response (PACER) program.
The PACER program sees paramedics, police officers and mental health clinicians respond to mental health emergencies and has faced an uncertain future due to funding.
The ACT Greens say they will push to expand PACER to two teams operating seven days a week, if elected.
The Canberra Liberals website says the party will guarantee funding for a further year of PACER, and “review the program with a view to increasing its funding to allow for two teams, longer operating hours or both”.
ACT Labor has also said it will continue the PACER program as part of its $200 million-a-year youth mental health commitment.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the pandemic means mental health support is “more important now than ever”.
“Around one third of Canberrans will need support with their mental health at some stage in their lives. An investment in mental health support is an investment in our community, and can make all the difference,” he said.
The $47 million announced from the Greens also includes two years of funding for safe haven cafes and the establishment of a First Nations mental health, suicide prevention and postvention program. It is on top of their $11.6 million promise for youth mental health announced last week, which would include a $2 million scheme to subsidise psychologist sessions, and additional child and adolescent mental health clinicians.
Last night’s Federal Budget also made some commitments for mental health and young people, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing the number of Medicare-funded psychological sessions would be doubled from 10 to 20 and more funding for mental health services Lifeline, headspace, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline.