Mental health costs to be cut by 10 per cent for $150 million under new deal


By Lizzie SattlerRead moreFinancial Post | May 18, 2018 08:48:18The Government is trying to keep costs for mental health from rising again.

A deal with the states and territories is set to save $150m over the next five years, and provide a $150,000 discount on the cost of therapy for people who are on antidepressants.

“I think that’s very important and very important to the health of our country,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“This is something that is really needed for our economy, and it’s something that we have to do with the people that are currently in a depression.”

Mr Frydenburg said the Government had been listening to people who were struggling to cope with depression and wanted to support them.

“People have really been very clear to us that they want a good mental health system and we want a better system,” he said.

The deal was announced in the Budget on Wednesday.

“We’ve been listening,” Mr Frydenbrook said.

He said the agreement would also allow the Government to spend $50m to reduce the number of people receiving treatment in the community, and allow more people with mental health conditions to access their benefits.

“They’re going to be able to access some of those services, but they’re going get a lower price for those services,” he told reporters.

“So, it’s going to bring in some revenue for the budget.”

In the same Budget, the Government said the Medicare levy on higher earners would be raised to pay for the deal.

“What we’ve been talking about in the budget is how do we deal with this very significant increase in the Medicare Levy and I think we have an opportunity now to do that in a very sensible way,” Mr Hockey said.

Mr Hockey said the deal was a step in the right direction.

“It will mean that people who have been struggling to find a way to manage their mental health will now be able access the services that they need,” he added.

“And we’ve taken the first step towards helping people who need it.”

Mr Hockey also announced the Government would be extending the age of eligibility for the Mental Health Act from 65 to 66, a change that will see the age range extend from 18 to 62.

“If you are an adult, it means you can start getting the support you need for managing your mental health,” Mr Turnbull said.ABC/AAPTopics:mental-health,government-and-politics,government—state-issues,mental-behaviour,government,mental,australiaFirst posted May 18, 2019 07:29:08Contact Nicola MearesMore stories from New South Wales