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au overview

A member of the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health, Australia allocated 0.21% of gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) in 2019. According to a 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, Australian aid focuses largely on the Indo-Pacific region and highlights the following priorities: 1) infrastructure and trade; 2) agriculture, fisheries, and water; 3) effective governance; 4) education and health; 5) building resilience; and 6) gender equality and empowering women and girls. In 2020, Australia released a new strategy, Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response that continues to focus on the Indo-Pacific region, and on three action areas: health security, health security, stability, and economic recovery. There is no mention of mental health in this policy.


Global mental health support

Australia is one of the three founding members of the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing (alongside Canada and the UK), and is a member of the MHPSS donor group. Global mental health projects that Australia has funded in the past include support to Mental Health Integration in the Northern Districts of Sri Lanka initiative(managed by the World Vision Australia (WVA)) and the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Cambodia to support the  provision of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to survivors of gender based violence (GBV).

Strategy for global mental health

There is no strategy for mental health, nor is it included in wider health policy documents. Australia does have a disability-inclusive development strategy.

Domestic mental health

Mental health is a domestic policy priority according to the Minister of Health Greg Hunt’s comments in May 2018 highlighting a $4.3 billion investment in mental health initiatives in 2017-18 with an additional $338 million in the budget. Australian organisations working in mental health space include Beyond Blue, Headspace, Mind Matters, and more

For more information, see WHO Mental Health Atlas 2017 Country Profile  and further resources in WHO MiNDbank.

Key stakeholders

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) manages policy, budget and implementation and managed over 90% of the official development assistance (ODA) budget in 2017. 

Australian National Mental Health Commission advises the Australian government on mental health

Member of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL)

Member of APEC and contributes to the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health.

Key decision makers

Prime Minister: Scott Morrison 

Scott Morrison’s Suicide Prevention Adviser and CEO of the National Mental Health Commission: Christine Morgan 

Australian Minister for Health: Greg Hunt MP 

Minister of Foreign Affairs/ Minister of Women: Marise Ann Payne.

Financing global mental health

According to IHME data, from 2007-2019 Australia contributed USD $8.6 million in development assistance to mental health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources. 


Global health overview

In 2016 Australia spent US$372 million on global health, (11% of total ODA).  Some 49% (US$182 million) was channelled through multilaterals.

Australia has made pledges and contributions to the following to global initiatives:

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