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Mental health funding statement | Arthur Papakotsias, CEO Youth Focus

This week’s announcement from the State Government of a record $1.3 billion investment
in Western Australia’s mental health, alcohol and other drug services in 2022-23 is a
much-needed, positive step towards better supporting the mental health of young Western

This 13 per cent increase on last year’s funding is a welcome investment that is crucial to
prioritising and supporting the unmet needs of infants, children, adolescents, their carers
and families.

As a leading mental health service provider, Youth Focus particularly welcomes further
investment in Peer Support Workers, reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and the
resourcing of more frontline staff in regional areas to address some long-term issues.

Although a significant investment from the McGowan Government, as a service provider
which sits on the front line of the mental health crisis in WA, the mental health issues
Youth Focus is presented with daily are simply too much for the current system to handle.

Beyond the investment, Youth Focus believe the first step in alleviating the crisis and at
the fore of fixing this problem is addressing the workforce shortage, as many clinical
positions within the health sector remain unfilled. Workforce development must be a
priority as well as better system navigation and integration.

There are several challenges including dealing with high demand for services, increasing
complexity in client issues, recruitment of staff, particularly in regional, rural and remote
areas and the increasing costs to deliver services free of charge to young people.

Youth Focus will continue to provide mental health support services for young Western
Australians in need as well as continuing to advocate for the greater integration of mental
health services across the state.

Youth Focus looks forward to seeing this funding realised and will continue to work closely
with the State Government to make a wider range of mental health services more
accessible to more young people.

What are Youth Focus’ key federal election priorities?
• Increased funding for headspace services
• Funding for young people who present with more complex needs and co-occurring
• Suicide prevention strategies and resources
• Greater support for carers and families in assisting young people