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Australian gov't commits fund to boost mental health in schools

CANBERRA, Jan 8, 2018 (BSS/XINHUA) - The Australian government has announced a 100 million Australian dollars (78.4 million U.S. dollars) funding boost for school mental health programs.

Greg Hunt, Australia's health minister, said the initiative would help schools and communities support the wellbeing of young Australians.

Much of the promised money will go to mental health group "beyondblue" to support its National Education Initiative for four years at a cost of 35 million U.S. dollars.

"Minister Hunt attended beyondblue's December Board Meeting and showed in those discussions a deep knowledge of what is needed in mental health and a personal commitment to change," former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a media release on Monday.

"Knowing the Minister is so invested in seeing the National Education Initiative succeed gives beyondblue an even greater determination to create a world class initiative for early learning services and schools."

Hunt said the aim of the funding boost was to provide students and parents with the tools to recognize, and deal with, mental health challenges.

It is estimated that around 4 million Australians experience a mental health condition every year.