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February 25, 2022

The Morrison Government is investing in a stronger psychiatry workforce to deliver mental health services and support where and when people need it, including in Warrnambool.

From this year, the region will benefit as a training location as part of an $11.9 million funding agreement with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan said the RANZCP would work with local service providers to identify the best way to ensure trainee psychiatrists were well supported while providing safe and quality services to the community.

“Like most regional areas of the country, Warrnambool has endured a lot during the pandemic and local mental health care services have provided vital support to the community,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Government has recognised Warrnambool’s need and I welcome the investment in the ongoing well-being of the local community.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said one in every 5 Australians — about 4 million people — suffer from a mental illness in any given year, and almost half the population experience a mental disorder at some time in their life.

“More Australians are reaching out for help when it comes to mental health issues, ending decades of stigmatisation on the issue,” Minister Hunt said.

“This investment will increase training posts and expand into places outside of public hospitals, increase capacity and reduce barriers to the recruitment and retention of psychiatrists, including here in Warrnambool.”

“Through a $2.3 billion investment in the 2021-22 Budget, our Government is transforming the mental health system to ensure that all Australians can access, high-quality, person-centred care when and where it is needed.”

Minister for Regional Health, David Gillespie, said the funding would boost psychiatry training and education in rural and remote Australia.

“The RANZCP will encourage and ultimately retain trainees, so they have the opportunity to stay and practice in rural and remote Australia to provide more local services for patients in Warrnambool,” Minister Gillespie said.

This funding will allow the RANZCP to:

• create an additional 20 training posts and supervisors in 2021-22 and 30 training posts and supervisors in 2022-23 to address workforce mal-distribution and shortages with priority given to high needs areas and those that support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island workforce and service delivery
• invest in activities to encourage more medical graduates to pursue psychiatry
• support the development of a rural and remote psychiatry training pathway and network
• develop a nationally recognised Diploma in Psychiatry for medical practitioners, including GPs and emergency medicine specialists.

The new funding is part of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented funding and support for mental health, including a record $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan which is delivering significant reform of the mental health system and ensuring all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care.

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service anytime via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

Media contact | Sandie Gustus 0408 564 232