Mental Health, Media release 2 minute read

Children’s mental health the losers of this year’s budget

The 2025 Federal Budget has failed our children, according to Australia’s leading children’s mental health not-for-profit, Smiling Mind.

The country is in the grips of a mental health crisis, yet no funding has been allocated to preventive initiatives targeting primary school-aged children despite evidence that 25 to 50 per cent of adult mental illness can be prevented through early intervention during childhood and adolescence. 

Responding to the budget, Smiling Mind CEO, Sarah La Roche, said a government that isn’t focussed on preventing mental illness before it starts fails all Australians and guarantees this country’s mental health crisis will continue to worsen. 

“While we respect that budgets need to deal with the immediate challenges, the skyrocketing cost of living pressures in Australia are having a profound impact on the mental health of parents and children. Investing in kid’s mental health services is crucial to ensure the wellbeing of future generations, yet they’ve been completely neglected in this year’s budget,” said La Roche. 

School refusal rates are at an all-time high and learning concerns and anxiety amongst primary school-aged children has doubled in the last 10 years. Seven out of 10 of the most common presentations to paediatricians are for mental health, but only 50 per cent of children experiencing mental health challenges are receiving professional support. 

“Kids with mental ill health are more likely to become adults with mental ill-health. We know half of all adult mental health conditions first emerge before the age of 14. Helping our kids to develop the skills to thrive, and to reduce the social drivers of mental ill-health is critical now,” added La Roche. 

Last year Smiling Mind launched a campaign advocating for the appointment of a Federal Minister for Children to ensure critical funding, research and intervention is made available to address the deteriorating state of Australian children’s mental health and wellbeing. 

The not-for-profit believes this year's budget may have better reflected the needs of children if they'd had a dedicated representative. Federal representation is needed to bring about the systematic change desperately needed to protect and support struggling kids. 

“We need direct government accountability to ensure our youngest and most vulnerable Australians don’t continue falling through the cracks. Children must be prioritised all year round and especially at budget time,” said La Roche. 

Smiling Mind continues to advocate for this important and dedicated children’s portfolio on behalf of all generations, calling for the Federal Government to: 

  1. Appoint a federal Minister for Children to advocate for the specific needs of children across policy areas federally.

  2. Raise government investment in the primary prevention of mental illness to 5% of all mental health expenditure to promote mental wellbeing.

  3. Prioritise children’s mental health and wellbeing with the funded implementation of The NationalChildren’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

  4. Deliver a regular, nation-wide survey of Australian children’s mental health to support effective decision making and service design and delivery.

  5. Launch a National Children’s Mental Health Day (aligning with Mental Health Awareness Month inOctober), to elevate the voices and stories of children within our national mental health awareness agenda.

 

Everyone can join Smiling Mind's advocacy of making children's mental health a national priority by signing the Our Kids Count petition. Let's unite as one voice to create generational change in mental health.

Let's Make Our Kids Count

 


 

CONTACT: Siobhan Gleeson 0430 062 288 or s.gleeson@sixoclock.com.au (on behalf of Smiling Mind)

 

About Smiling Mind 

Smiling Mind has been at the forefront of mental wellbeing innovation for over 10 years, helping minds thrive with evidence-based tools and resources. We’re proud to have impacted the lives of millions of people globally. 

Our mission is Lifelong Mental Fitness. We aim to create generational change in mental health, providing proactive tools and programs that help every mind thrive. So far, we’ve reached more than 8.6 million people through our renowned mindfulness app and more than 12.8 million young people through our app and school based programs.

Smiling Mind

Written by Smiling Mind

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