HIF is partnering with Reset Mind Sciences to establish a landmark mental health treatment facility with capability to deliver psychedelic assisted psychotherapy.
The partnership will place the not-for-profit health insurer at the forefront of a proof-of-concept clinic in Perth, Western Australia, owned and operated by Reset Mind Sciences, a 100% owned subsidiary of WA-based medicinal cannabis manufacturer Little Green Pharma.
HIF and Reset will also undertake a concurrent health economics study to provide real-world data to inform potential member coverage for the treatment and enter into a 18-month exclusivity period to negotiate joint development of further treatment clinics.
Up to 100 HIF members will also be given priority assessments for treatment in the facility.
HIF CEO Justin James said: “More than 44% of Australians aged 16-85 are estimated to have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life treatments.
“Prescription rates for anti-depressants have doubled in the past 10 years with around one in seven Australians now taking anti-depressants daily.
“What if we could do something about that and lead the way in investing in a treatment pathway that delivered real results and had the potential to transform people’s lives?
“We believe Reset is the best placed company in Australia to start this journey with.”
Mental illness and suicide is estimated to cost Australia a conservative $200-$220 billion a year or $600 million a day.
Mr James said the impact of the mental health crisis on the Australian hospital system was significant.
“Many people with acute mental health issues require hospitalisation, face long waiting times for admission to mental health wards, and people are being discharged prematurely due to lack of resources,” he said.
“If we want to turn the current mental health crisis around, we simply can’t afford not to explore every legitimate avenue.”
Reset CEO Shaun Duffy said “As an industry, we have to think ahead when it comes to the treatment of mental health conditions. We commend HIF for their foresight and look forward to a long and productive relationship with them.”
In 2020, HIF became the first major Australian health fund to publicly declare support for medicinal cannabis treatments for people suffering from numerous debilitating health conditions and provide its members with rebates through Little Green Pharma.