Hunt announces $160m for mental health

Jodie Stephens

A national funding boost will help address service gaps for Australians with mental illness and psychosocial disability to who aren't covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, according to a peak mental health body.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday announced $160 million for a new national psychosocial measure for people with severe mental illness following an agreement between the federal and state and territory governments.

The federal government will provide $80 million over four years, beginning in July, with state and territory governments matching the commitment.

"It will help people for whom the NDIS was not designed, but who will benefit from specialised but less intense psychosocial services, such as individual and group assistance and rehabilitation, ensuring these people don't miss out on crucial support," Mr Hunt said in a media release.

Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan welcomed the announcement, saying there'd been concern for those ineligible for the NDIS who still needed support from community-based services.

"Because many of the programs that previously provided that support are being wound up in order to make way for the NDIS, there's been a gap," Mr Quinlan told AAP.

He said it was also important that the state and federal governments were working together.

"I don't think this is going to be enough to close the gap but I do think this is going to give us some really good information about the sorts of programs that work and that are most effective, and I think it's a really important first step in resolving these issues," he said.