I am passionate about making a difference to Mental Health on the Sunshine Coast.
Around eight Australians take their own lives each and every single day. For every one that does take their own life around 30 people attempt it. That’s about 240 Australians every day. The impact of poor mental health goes much, much broader for our community. Nearly half of all Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime and at least one in five experience some form of mental illness in any given year.
Since my election in 2016, and with the support of the Federal Government, we should all be proud to say that the Sunshine Coast is becoming a true leader in mental health research and treatment.
The Federal Government has funded more $30 million worth of cutting edge mental health projects on the Sunshine Coast including:
- $8.3 million for a National PTSD Centre, managed by the USC Thompson Institute
- $11.8 million for research and treatment programs into Dementia, Youth Mental health and Suicide at the Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute
- $7.3 million for construction and continued operation of Australia’s first residential treatment facility for Eating Disorders in Mooloolah Valley
- $3.2 million toward an Australian first eating disorder treatment trial delivered through the Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network
- Funding for a brand-new headspace in Caloundra, to tackle youth mental health
- Further funding for The Nurture Festival, to connect young people and their families with local mental health support services
This is in addition to the $53 million out of the Liberal National Government’s record $1.45 billion funding for community mental health services, which has been allocated to the Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network over the next three years.
Details of these projects can be found below.
THE THOMPSON INSTITUTE
In the 2017 Federal Budget the Treasurer announced funding of $5 million for the Thompson Institute, a cutting edge brain and neuroscience institute based in Bokarina.
I advocated strongly for Federal support for the Thompson Institute in 2017, and over the past two years our community has seen the tangible benefits of their innovative clinical services, research and education work.
This $5 million is already going toward world leading mental health research and treatment of a kind which is undertaken in only a handful of places internationally.
The funding supports three programs, which provide treatment and research in dementia, youth mental health and suicide.
The Thompson Institute’s integration of clinical service, advocacy, research and education facilitates fast and efficient translation of research breakthroughs into clinical treatments. The Institute’s work delivers better outcomes for people living with mental health disorders, and helps reduce the economic and community impact of mental health issues.
In March 2019 the Morrison Government invested a further $2.5 million in funding to provide for the continuation of this research and treatment for a further 12 months, assisting them to transition to full financial independence.
Again, in March 2022, the Morrison Government provided over $3.8 million to Thompson Institute for their research and clinical services in suicide prevention, as well as $8.3 million to establish a National PTSD Centre for PTSD research, treatment and support.
WANDI NERIDA - FORMERLY ENDED BUTTERFLY HOUSE
The Liberal National Government provided funding for the construction and operation of Australia’s first residential eating disorder treatment facility on the Sunshine Coast, helping hundreds of patients each year.
The joint project created by Sunshine-Coast-based charity endED and operated by the Butterfly Foundation is open now and accepting applications for residential patients.
This centre provides specialist care to people experiencing eating disorders, through in-patient and best practice treatment programs. It will advance the way eating disorders are diagnosed and treated, providing 24/7 intensive care and support as well as training, education and advocacy at the 12-bed facility. It will also include rooms for recreation, family therapy and group therapy.
I worked hard to deliver an initial Federal grant of $1.5 million for the project in 2018. Construction on this facility is now complete, and treatment at the facility for those who cannot afford it will be supported for the next four years following an additional $4.5 million in Federal funding announced in the 2019 Federal Budget. In the 2022 Federal Budget, a further $1.3 million was provided to Wandi Nerida to continue their vital work.
EATING DISORDER TREATMENT PILOT PROGRAM
The Liberal National Government is investing $3.2 million in an Australian first pilot project to improve the treatment and care of people with eating disorders. The Government is providing eating disorder advocacy organisation, the Butterfly Foundation, $1.4 million to run a pilot project here on the Sunshine Coast.
The national pilot is supporting over 240 patients, trialling new ways to support people with eating disorders, which will ultimately inform future support for patients around Australia.
The Butterfly Foundation is engaging with local doctors on the Sunshine Coast, undertaking an education and awareness program on eating disorders.
Two treatments are being offered to patients, including up to 20 psychotherapy sessions for less complex eating disorders and up to 50 psychotherapy sessions for people with anorexia nervosa or other complex eating disorders.
The Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network is also receiving $1.8 million over three years to commission services and engage with health professionals in support of the pilot project.
A comprehensive evaluation will be undertaken following the end of the pilot, which will inform support for patients with eating disorders, but its success is already been replicated nationwide with the Morrison Government’s expanded provision of Medicare supported psychotherapy and sessions with a dietitian announced in the 2019 Federal Budget.