Victorians with a mental illness will be able to access improved and integrated hospital and community-based mental health care services under the Victorian Coalition Government’s $104.8 million investment in mental health.
Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said the 2011-12 Victorian Budget delivers on the Coalition Government’s mental health election commitments, funding a range of initiatives designed to ensure all people living with a mental illness – including Victorians living in rural and regional areas – can access the care, services and support they need.
The Coalition Government is committed to a comprehensive approach to improve early intervention, diagnosis, community and inpatient treatment and ongoing accommodation for people with a mental illness.
“Our comprehensive plan will improve the ability of Victorians with a mental illness to manage their illness at home or in the community and has a focus on recovery through innovative accommodation, education and employment initiatives,” Ms Wooldridge said.
The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to invest in early intervention for young Victorians, including:
- increasing the capacity of the Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Service (PDRSS) to meet growth in demand and to help people with a mental illness in the community;
- meeting growing demand for targeted community-based mental health intervention to assist people in accessing appropriate and timely clinical care;
- expanding community-based mental health infrastructure to support the development of community-based mental health services; and
- expanding grief and bereavement telephone support services to meet growing demand and provide support, information and referral to people in need of grief counselling.
The Coalition Government will take the pressure off emergency departments and ensure access to clinical and acute mental health services through a number of important initiatives including:
- opening 46 new mental health beds at the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Banksia Adolescent Unit in Footscray, Narre Warren adult PARC and Dandenong youth PARC and also building a new four-bed unit at Sunshine Hospital;
- central coordination of mental health beds to ensure rapid access to inpatient beds; and
- improving the safety of women in hospital psychiatric wards through the creation of gender-specific spaces
Recovery and accommodation is also a key Budget focus, with new investment in a range of initiatives including:
- a new program to support people with a severe mental illness to access employment and education and training opportunities;
- an innovative new housing pilot using the private rental market to help people with a mental illness to live in the community; and
- new housing officers to link people with a mental illness in clinical mental health services to housing to assist in the transition from hospital to community-based care.
“In addition, the Coalition Government will be driving innovation through a $10 million Mental Illness Research Fund which will translate collaborative research into evidence-based treatment,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“The Coalition Government is taking action to ensure that Victorians living with a mental illness can access appropriate care, treatment and support when they need it.”