Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt

Greg Hunt: Firstly, thank you to everybody in relation to the Being Equally Well report and the national policy roadmap, and the Mitchell Institute.

Being Equally Well is about the concept of healthy equity but in a very easy to understand way.

There is sometimes a slower path to seeking help, and that relates to, pretty much, the majority health issues and that is one of the elements in this notion of being equally well.  Of giving people to confidence to step forward, giving people the knowledge to step forward, giving people the encouragement to step forward.

I want to talk about mental health and health. So what we see is the Being Equally Well report identifies the mental health challenges. What we need to be able to do, in terms of the mental health side, is too specifically target and reach in to people of non-English speaking background. So that's a critical element in our $2.3 billion National Mental Health Plan that we announced in the budget. And a large part of that is a focus on vulnerable communities.

So we will be setting up around Australia 40 new mental health treatment centres, many of which will focus on areas of specific need and that means we will have a particular look at the adult mental health centres, which will grow up from the existing ones that we already have to over 40 in their own right. We’ll be expanding by another 10 our Head Space to over 150 Headspace, and we’ll be creating 15 new children's Head to Health hubs as part of that.

So all these things come together: adults, youth and children's mental health support. And these will particularly focus on areas of need, and that's about providing confidence and access to both physical and their online virtual telephony. These programmes, I think, are extremely import.

So, there’s a $2.3 billion plan with a special focus on the vulnerable, but a national focus on points of presence. And I think that’s a really critical thing that we can that we can do together. So that national plan which follows prevention and resilience - suicide prevention in particular- the treatment options, the vulnerable communities, and then workforce and governance, is completely comprehensive. One of the things that's been absolutely critical is we’ve double the number of better access visits for psychological support, but in this budget we added $100 million to ensure families as a whole could seek counselling. And so I think that’s a really important thing. So, the two patient sessions for a carer or family member, with patient consent.

Then let me come, in particular, to Being Equally Well. I think what you have done is incredibly important. I know Adam fells incredibly well. It goes back to his work and the link between health and mental health.

This is a critical priority of the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and so we go forwards. We obviously have funds in this front. But I think that Being Equally Well Roadmap, it sets out a pathway, it sets out a program. We’ve backed it in this last budget with the specific funding.

But I never want to lose the link between mental health and physical health. They go in both directions. Either can trigger the other. So the focus on chronic pain, chronic disease, they are equally important supporting mental health and mental health is vital to helping with the non-mental health outcomes. So ultimately I am absolutely honoured, on behalf of all of you, to launch the Being Equally Well Roadmap, and I thank you and I honour you.