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Mental health

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring people with a mental illness get the care and support they need. We are working to better identify and respond to mental illness early, seeking to reduce its impact through providing timely community and acute care services and supporting ongoing recovery for Victorians living with a mental illness.

We are committed to improving early intervention services to better support young people with a mental illness. This includes funding youth services, such as headspace youth mental health centres in Collingwood and Bendigo, and establishing new facilities, such as mother and baby units in regional Victoria. We will be launching a new eating disorder program at the Royal Children's Hospital, and developing a Victorian suicide prevention strategy.

The demand for drug and alcohol treatment services continues to grow. The Coalition Government believes that those in need of these services should be given every chance to get their lives back on track and that they should be able to access treatment when they need it.

The Coalition Government is developing a new whole of government Victorian Alcohol and Drug Strategy which will provide a comprehensive approach to the way we respond to alcohol and drug abuse and dependency. It will focus on decreasing the current rates of alcohol and other drug abuse in Victoria, reducing the amount of harm that alcohol and drug abuse causes in the community and increasing access to treatment options so that people with an alcohol or drug problem can get help when they need it.

Treatment services across the board need to be flexible and able to respond to the needs of individuals and families. We are investing in options which provide intense treatment for individuals to prevent relapses, and ensuring they are linked to appropriate case management to better support them in their treatment and recovery.

We will continue to work with the sector to ensure Victoria is again at the forefront of mental health and drug and alcohol policy in Australia.

Achievements and policies implemented

  • Provided an additional $104 million to address longstanding neglect of mental health and improve community-based mental health facilities, expansion of psychiatric disability, rehabilitation and support services and increased access to specialist clinician mental health services, especially in outer urban areas

  • Formed an expert advisory panel to advise on the development of Victoria's first whole-of government Alcohol and Drug strategy since 1996

  • Filled a $158 million black hole left by the previous government to ensure vital drug and alcohol services continue to provide care to vulnerable Victorians

  • Passed legislation to ban the sale and possession of emerging drugs such as synthetic cannabis and other laboratory derived narcotics

  • Banned adults supplying alcohol to minors in a private residence unless parental consent is given, including fines of up to $7,000, supported by a $1 million education campaign

  • Launched a $10 million mental health innovative research fund

  • Provided $3.2 million to help mentally ill Victorians secure private accommodation

  • Funded $4 million for gender-sensitive spaces in mental health inpatient services

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