Significant boost to mental health services under WA Labor

Posted on February 12, 2021
  • $361.6 million package will address critical gaps in the mental health system
  • Package represents a massive boost to community mental health services, peer support, investment in prevention under a re-elected McGowan Labor Government
  • Eating disorder treatment services to be expanded 
  • Includes an additional $122.4 million in mental health services for WA’s young people

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will significantly boost mental health services with a $361.6 million investment over four years.The package will address critical gaps in the mental health system and includes:

  • $20.2 million to expand the Mental Health Co-Response (MHCR) program to Bunbury and Geraldton, and provide more mobile mental health teams in the metro area
  • $86.7 million for two new Mental Health Emergency Centres (MHEC) and Behavioural Assessment Urgent Care Centres (BAUCC) at Rockingham and Armadale to ensure patients in crisis are assessed safely, quickly and respectfully.
  • $14.8 million for a new 10-bed Step Up/Step Down (SUSD) in South Hedland, to support people safely in the community and close to their personal supports from family and friends. 
  • $4 million of workplace mental health grants to fund organisations that build stronger and more resilient workers, and connect workers to the best available help and support. 
  • $31.6 million expansion of WA’s Eating Disorder Treatment, including a WA Eating Disorders Specialist Service (WAEDSS) Hub and community prevention supports.  

These new initiatives build on WA Labor’s $64 million commitment to increase psychological support for WA students. 

The commitments come in addition to the McGowan Government’s record $1 billion investment in mental health, alcohol and other drug services announced in 2020, which includes $46.9 million for suicide prevention programs and $25.1 million for a new 16 bed youth mental health, alcohol and other drug homelessness service in the Perth metropolitan area.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all of us, mental health and wellbeing has become more important than ever.

“Delivering these vital services in the community is a priority for my Government – we want to support people to manage a mental illness out of hospital and in the community.

“By investing in mental health programs and supports, we want to ensure all West Australians are provided access to mental health services and the support that they need to stay healthy.

“This package prioritises mental health prevention and community supports to help keep people out of emergency departments.

“Importantly it also has a focus on peer support and many of the initiatives feature the employment of peer workers.

“It is all part of my Government’s commitment to keep Western Australians safe.”

Media contact: Jamie MacDonald on 0457 535 224

The $361.6 million package also includes:

Increased support for young people;

  • $18.2 million for the Youth long-term housing and support program to provide young people with access to long-term accommodation alongside coordinated clinical, psychosocial and AOD supports to assist them with their recovery and with living independently in the community. 
  • a new $10.6 million ten-bed Youth Step Up/Step Down (SUSD) facility in the metropolitan area for young people aged 16-24 years with a mental health issue, and (if applicable) co-occurring alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues
  • $12.6 million to implement the Child, Adolescent and Youth Forensic Outreach Service (CAYFOS) for young people aged between 10 and 24 with mental health and/or alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues who are at risk of, have been or are currently in contact with the criminal justice system, requiring specialist adolescent forensic support.
  • $10 million to expand the youth mental health community treatment services, more than doubling the funding for flexible, trauma-informed, culturally secure evidence-based multidisciplinary care for young people (13 to 24 years) with complex, severe mental health problems. 
  • $35.3 million to expand the Youth Community Assessment and Treatment Team (YCATT) community outreach service to the entire Metro area, a community outreach service that provides developmentally appropriate acute and intensive community assessment, treatment and case management for young people aged 16 to 24. 
  • $9.8 million to provide Drug Education Support Services (DESS) workers at Youth Accommodation and Support Services, to provide counselling, support and referrals, education on AOD harm minimisation and protective factors, and family engagement.
  • $9.5 million for Psychosocial support packages for young people to assist more young people living in the community, either independently or in the family home, to increasingly participate in and contribute to community, social, and economic life
  • Support for the WA AIDS Council to continue providing peer-based support and education for youth who identify as LGBTIQA+ across Western Australia
  • $6.7 million to expand the Alcohol. Think Again – Parents, Young People and Alcohol Campaign, part of a comprehensive approach in Western Australia that aims to reduce the level of alcohol-related harm and ill-health in Western Australia.

Increased support for Aboriginal people; 

  • $9.2 million to expand Strong Spirit Strong Mind Metro Project state-wide, an Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol awareness project to prevent and delay the early uptake of alcohol and drugs by young Aboriginal people. 
  • $17.6 million investment in Social and Emotional Wellbeing at 5 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHOs) sites including the Kimberley, the Pilbara, Goldfields, Midwest and South West. 
  • Ensuring Aboriginal Mental Health Workers are available within the Mental Health Co-Response teams to provide culturally appropriate support.


In 2020, the McGowan Labor Government announced a record $1 billion for mental health, alcohol and other drug services in the 2020 State Budget, $306 million of that being additional funding towards mental health services. This includes:

  • $46.9 million for suicide prevention programs and initiatives across the state
  • $25.1 million for a new 16-bed youth mental health, alcohol and other drug homelessness service in the Perth metropolitan area
  • $24.5 million to establish a 20-bed adult community care unit

The budget also outlined a number of Aboriginal-specific mental health initiatives including:

  • $19.8 million for mental health initiatives to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, including $9.8 million for Aboriginal suicide prevention plans and $10 million under the Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing package
  • $6.8 million in 2020-21 to fund the Aboriginal Community Connectors program to help improve community safety and reduce community consequences of alcohol and drug related at risk behaviours

The Government also allocated an additional $4.79 million to programs to provide additional suicide prevention support to all Western Australians as part of the WA Recovery Plan, including:

  • aftercare support following a suicide attempt through a peer-based approach
  • providing support and meeting the needs of those affected by a suicide death
  • increasing capacity of services that provide long term support to children who have been bereaved by a suicide death
  • improving community-level data collection for suicide prevention