Sun, 27 Sep 2020

CANBERRA, Australia - The Australian government has announced the third stage of mental health funding for COVID-19.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday that the government is providing more than $20 million additional funding for research to improve mental health care and reduce suicide rates in Australia.

"It includes funding for coronavirus research in terms of the mental health impacts and it has a particular emphasis on what we're doing with regards to men's and boys' mental health and pharmacogenomics or the tailoring of medicines," Hunt said Monday.

"Anxiety and depression, other clinical conditions, are associated with the fear that comes with health concerns, the loneliness of isolation, and the deep concern that people have with regards to their employment, or their business," the health minister said at a press conference in Canberra.

"So the economic consequences of coronavirus can have a huge impact on the mental health, safety, stability and concerns of individuals."

Hunt also said there are over five consecutive weeks of days in which the growth rate of new cases in Australia has been less than half a percent.

"As of this morning, we are at 7,112 cases and sadly, 102 lives lost," he said. "Importantly, 6,509 people have recovered, which means there are 501 active cases in Australia."

According to Hunt, the first stage of the mental health package was $74 million, which addressed in particular outreach services.

The second was $48 million , which supported the National Mental Health Pandemic Plan.

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