Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a $48.1 million mental health care plan in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The state and territory leaders of the national cabinet unanimously agreed to the mental health and wellbeing pandemic response plan, supported by Christine Morgan, chief executive of the National Mental Health Commission. 

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the coronavirus has “created specific mental health challenges”, like loneliness in isolation and stress and anxiety about job loss and finances.

Hunt explained the response plan will cover three areas: $7.3 million for research and data into what is happening in real time, $29.5 million for outreach programs to vulnerable communities – the elderly, those from non-English speaking backgrounds, Indigenous Australians, and those with pre-existing medical conditions -,  and 11.3 million dollars will go to communication and outreach programs.

The national cabinet also agreed to resume all elective surgeries.

“That will be done, of course, at the pace that states set, but that will be welcome, particularly to the private health industry, in particular, and the jobs that are supported through that sector.”

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy highlighted the importance that the country heads towards full elective surgery again. He also urged all Australians to seek medical help if needed.

“If you need to go and see your specialist, you need to go and see your GP, please do so. And if you need to get help with mental health conditions, please, please do so.”

Image: AAP / MICK TSIKAS