Major health and wellbeing survey funded

Colin Brinsden

It's been a tough year or so for Australians to put it mildly.

First there was the drought that impacted farmers, then there was the savage bushfires that hit the regions and tourism and then along came the coronavirus pandemic that affected everybody and still is.

At each stage the Morrison government has been able to provide some financial assistance when it comes to people's mental health through such extreme conditions.

And from July 1 it wants to gauge people's wellbeing to better inform itself over future health needs.

The government is providing $89.5 million over the next three years for the Australian Bureau of Statistics to undertake a comprehensive health survey of the physical and mental health of the Australian population.

The intergenerational health and mental health survey was first announced in the 2019/20 mid-year budget review last December and events since make such work even more essential.

"The survey will provide data to enable Australian governments and other providers of health services to better develop and coordinate health services," the government says.

The cost of the measure will be drawn from existing resources of the Department of Health.

Separately, the government is also providing a total $36 million over three years from July 1 for a national perinatal screening program for new and expecting parents.

It aims to improve mental health outcomes by identifying risks early.

This includes $20 million for a national partnership agreement with the states and territories to ensure a nationally consistent approach to perinatal mental health screening by providing a "Mums, Dads and Bubs check" before leaving hospital.

There is also $16 million for the Centre of Perinatal Excellence to roll out a perinatal mental health screen tool.

The perinatal period is defined from the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends one to four weeks after birth.