A leading youth mental health initiative is set for a $2.8 million boost from the Morrison Government to expand its interactive school based programs through a new digital storytelling platform.

The funding injection for batyr backs their innovative preventative mental health work by helping further enhance and expand batyr’s online presence to support youth mental health and suicide prevention through safe and effective storytelling in schools.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said early intervention was absolutely critical to helping young people with mental health issues with an estimated one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experience mental illness in any given year.

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“This is a program for young people, designed by young people,” The Prime Minister said.“This will help batyr deliver front-line services and coordinate the right interventions for at risk young people. “batyr and their approach is part of our vision for tackling the mental health challenges facing young Australians that is a key focus of my government.”

batyr was launched in 2011, after founder Sebastian Robertson experienced the frustration and isolation of living silently with mental ill health whilst at university.

Sebastian recognised that it was time to have open honest conversations about mental health with young people, and founded the organisation, naming it after batyr, The Talking Elephant from Kazakhstan.

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Minister for Health Greg Hunt said young Australians face many challenges and Government funding will provide a significant boost of support.

“There are more pressures on young people today than ever before and we are committed to ensuring young Australians can get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it,” Minister Hunt said.

“I want our young people to know they are not alone on their journey, and that batyr is there to help deliver quality frontline support and coordinate the right interventions for people who are at risk.”

The Liberal National Government is prioritising better mental health for all Australians with a record $4.9 billion expected to be spent on mental health this year alone.

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The Morrison Government’s $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is the largest suicide prevention plan in Australia’s history and focuses on expanding the headspace network, Indigenous suicide prevention and early childhood and parenting.

The Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment of funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.