Reform group calls for investment in mental health

EXPERTS are calling for Commonwealth investment of at least $3.5 billion to transform mental health.

An independent mental health reform group, which includes former Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, presented a blueprint for mental health to the Federal Government last week.

The group called for a five-year, $3.5 billion program of strategic investment in 30 new services, including an expansion of headspace centres from 30 to 90, and establishing a national mental health commission to develop an annual national mental health “report card”.

Report author Professor Ian Hickie, executive director of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had identified mental health as a second-term priority.

“We’ve made it clear that the consensus among the experts about what to do is straightforward. The simple question is, is the Government up for it?” he