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Government Expected To Employ CMO For Mental Health In Pandemic Response

The federal government is expected to appoint Associate Professor Ruth Vine as the country's first deputy chief medical officer for mental health to help direct the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Health Minister Greg Hunt is likely to make a statement on mental health today.

The Australian reported that Prof Vine, the former chief psychiatrist for Victoria, has been selected for the role.

Government modelling forecasts a 50 percent increase in suicides directly related to the economic shutdown and the associated distress, with the possibility they could outstrip direct deaths from coronavirus.

"A priority on the road out of the pandemic is supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians," Hunt will say, according to the publication.

"Supporting the mental health of Australians is a deep personal passion of mine and a priority of this government."

Prof Vine would sit alongside Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, who recommended mental health be treated as a priority.

More to come.

If you're in a time of crisis, or need someone to talk to, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyondblue 1300 22 4636.