Boost to local mental health services in Whitlam

May 16, 2022

Australians across Whitlam will have easier access to mental health services with the Morrison Government today announcing a new Head to Health adult mental health satellite service in Shellharbour.

Liberal Senator for New South Wales, Jim Molan, welcomed the announcement of the new mental health service, which is fully funded through the Morrison Government’s historic National Mental Health and Suicide Plan announced in the 2021-22 Budget.

“The Morrison Government continues to make the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians a national priority,” Senator Molan said.

“Head to Health services, like the one being established here in Whitlam are designed to provide a welcoming, stigma-free entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and supports.

“I encourage people who are worried about their own or a loved one’s mental health to reach out to the services when they open. The services are free, and referrals can also be made for more intensive mental health care or social supports if needed.”.

The Shellharbour Head to Health service is part of a network of community-based mental health services being established around Australia as part of the Government’s $3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said this was one of many Head to Health satellite services being established across the country.

“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have been incredibly difficult and stressful for many Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

“That is why we are prioritising mental health support, ensuring that young people have access to care that can help them recover and reach their full potential as we reopen the country.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said mental health and suicide prevention remained one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.

“We are committed to further expanding mental health services to ensure Australians can get support, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“These services will provide that much needed support, as well as creating a safe space for Australians experiencing high levels of distress or who are at heightened risk of suicide.”

Liberal Candidate for Whitlam, Mike Cains, welcomed the announcement.

“I am thrilled that our community will have access to the highest quality care and support when they need it most. This Head to Health Centre is designed to achieve better outcomes for locals doing it tough,” Mr Cains said.

“We are living through challenging times, it is critical that we support each other. This Head to Health satellite service will ensure we have the care available for people needing support long into the future.

“The new Shellharbour Head to Health service will also play an essential role in complimenting the $700m redevelopment of Shellharbour hospital which the Morrison Government is co-funding.”

The Shellharbour Head to Health service will be commissioned by the South Eastern NSW PHN and will receive a total of $3.4 million over four years to establish and operate the satellite.

The satellite will be integrated within the primary care setting to offer support to adults with moderate to severe levels of mental illness over the short to medium term. The PHN will consult with the community to ensure that the services provide support in a way that meets local needs.

The Morrison Government continues to make mental health a national priority, investing a record $3 billion in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.

This brings the Health portfolio expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2022–23 to a record high of $6.8 billion.

Unlike the Labor Party, which has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (