SA Budget takes big step towards fixing broken mental health system

Yesterday’s South Australian Budget shows the State Government is serious about finally fixing our broken mental health system, Australia’s peak body for psychiatrists says.

The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) South Australian Branch said yesterday’s budget is a clear indication the new SA Government is committed to addressing mental health in the state.

Key budget items include:

  • $3.1million (over 4 years) for mental health community teams
  • $157.8 million to establish 72 additional mental health beds
  • 20 mental health Hospital in the Home beds
  • 12 acute mental health beds at Mt Barker Hospital
  • 10 additional beds at the Women’s and Children Hospital for young people and additional funding for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and trainees in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • six additional mental health beds at Mt Gambier Hospital
  • $400,000 for a psychiatry workplace plan development to address the workforce shortage in the state
  • Investment in community drug and rehabilitation beds, including six additional drug and rehabilitation beds in Mt Gambier
  • $50 million over four years for 100 new mental health support specialists in state primary and high schools;
  • $800,000 over four years for Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network
  • investment in the MATES in Construction program: suicide prevention and mental health programs in the building, mining, energy and construction industries ($240,000 over four years)
  • mental health training for pharmacists to identify and respond to early warning sign of mental ill-health ($350,000 over four years)
  • $10.4 million to provide homelessness support including grants for St Vincent de Paul, Catherine House and the Hutt Street Centre
  • $4.5 million over two years to provide a 20-bed discharge support service offering patients experiencing homelessness a stable recovery.

Chair of the RANZCP SA Branch, Dr Paul Furst, said that while of course the announcements will not address all mental health issues in the state, it is very encouraging see mental health at the centre of the budget.

'The South Australian Government made mental health a cornerstone of its election platform and in its first budget it has shown a commitment to delivering on its election promises', Dr Furst said.

'This budget really confirms this government is committed to delivering on mental health in this state'.

'South Australia has unfortunately languished at the back of the pack when it comes to having a system geared up to deal with our mental health challenges. These new investments won’t make us global leaders overnight, but they will help ensure we can start providing South Australians with the mental health care they deserve'.
'Investment in key areas like community mental health services, addressing the workforce shortage and providing additional mental health beds is crucial to ensuring we can adequately address mental health issues in the state'.

'It’s clear that the new South Australian Government has listened to the feedback from the sector and taken on board many of our recommendations. We’re looking forward to working with the Malinauskas Government to further develop our state’s preparedness to deal with mental health issues'.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For media enquiries or to arrange an interview contact 0408 584 439.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or 


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