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New youth mental health funding for Tasmania

Posted on March 24, 2022

Primary Health Tasmania welcomes the announcement of new Australian Government funding to establish the first dedicated early psychosis service for young Tasmanians.

The funding will flow to Primary Health Tasmania to commission this service under the Primary Health Networks Program.

Psychosis is a condition where people may experience a range of symptoms including false beliefs, hallucinations, confused thinking and changed behaviour. It can be triggered by a mental illness, drug use, or extreme stress.

Around three in every 100 people are diagnosed with a psychotic illness at some stage in their life, and two-thirds of people who have psychosis experience their first episode before the age of 25.

The new funding will target people aged 12–25 years who are at ultra-high risk of, or currently experiencing, their first episode of psychosis.

Primary Health Tasmania CEO Phil Edmondson said the funding commitment represented an opportunity to have a real impact on young people’s health by reducing the chance of their condition escalating.

“It will also help reduce the demand on existing statewide mental health services and hospital system,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to receiving more information about this new initiative, and working with local service providers and other stakeholders to roll it out.

“These stakeholders will include the Tasmanian Department of Health and Tasmanian Health Service, given the current reform of the State Government’s child and adolescent mental health services, so we can consider how the early psychosis service will complement those existing services and ensure the young person’s support experience is as streamlined as possible.

The new service will also complement existing youth mental health services commissioned by Primary Health Tasmania.