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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 provide record funding to both clinical mental health but also community mental health services. In 2014-2015 this funding will reach $1.26 billion.

We are committed to improving early intervention services to better support young people with a mental illness. This includes funding for youth services, such as Headspace Youth Mental Health centres, and establishing new facilities, for example new Prevention and Recovery Care units (PARCS), and investing in the positive wellbeing of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) young people.

The Victorian Government has developed a new mental health act which forms a key element to our mental health reform agenda, placing individuals and families at the centre of mental health treatment and care.

The Mental Health Act 2014 involves significant changes to compulsory assessment and treatment of people living with mental illness. It will ensure that people living with mental illness and subject to compulsory treatment are supported to make or participate in decisions about their treatment and care. The Act also recognises the important role of families and carers in supporting the recovery of people living with mental illness.

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 has developed a whole-of-government alcohol and drug strategy, Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013 – 2017. The plan sets out how the Victorian Government will work with the community to bring down the alcohol and drug toll and deliver better health outcomes for thousands of Victorians who want to recover from the harm associated with alcohol misuse and drug use.

The Coalition Government is working to reduce the rates of risky drinking and drug use, and the toll of deaths, disease, injury, crime and other social costs from the misuse of alcohol and drugs. Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013 – 2017 sets out a 15-point plan that provides a comprehensive response to the three major drug types: alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs and illegal drugs. It also focuses on care, treatment and recovery as well as strengthening leadership and coordinated action in reducing the alcohol and drug toll.

Drug and Alcohol 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.

Community based mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment services need to be flexible and able to respond to the needs of individuals and families. That is why we are working with the mental health and drug and alcohol sector to recommission services to ensure individuals get a more coordinated and joined-up approach to their recovery.

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

Achievements and policies implemented

Mental health

  • Passed a new Mental Health Act for Victorians, replacing what was the oldest Mental Health Act in the country. The Mental Health Act 2014 will come into effect on 1 July 2014 and provides a strengths- and rights-based platform for the mental health sector over coming years.
  • Provided record funding to community mental health with an increase of 30 per cent since coming to government. In 2014-2015 the Coalition will invest more than $120 million in providing mental health services in the community. In addition, we are recommissioning $74 million of community mental health services so that clients get a more coordinated and joined-up approach to their recovery.
  • Provided funding for an additional 280 beds across a range of mental health settings – from acute, hospital-based beds, to Mother-Baby Units, Transition Support units and Prevention and Recovery Care units.
  • Invested $10 million in innovative mental health research to drive translational research into improved outcomes for people with a mental illness.
  • Funding $6 million for gender-sensitive spaces in mental health inpatient services. This funding has so far funded 47 individual projects across 15 health services across the state. The investments have been into a range of practical measures designed to improve the safety of women in psychiatric care, including lockable bedrooms and bathrooms and female-only lounge areas.
  • Provided $3.2 million to help Victorians with a mental illness secure private accommodation supported by a further $4 million to continue the program on the basis of evidence which showed great results for clients. The 'Doorways' program, led by the Mental Illness Fellowship, is an example of real innovation in the sector as it is focused on the gaps that exist between mental health and housing services.
  • The Coalition Government secured and expanded specialist eating disorder services, including a new innovative program at the Royal Children's Hospital.
  • $4 million to promote positive mental illness for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) young people.

Alcohol and drugs

  • More than $200 million in funding for alcohol and drug treatment services since coming to government in 2010, including the largest ever boost of $34 million in the 2014-15 State Budget.
  • Released Victoria's first ever whole-of-government alcohol and drug strategy: Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013 – 2017, based on consultation with an expert advisory council.
  • Recommissioning $43 million of AOD treatment services to deliver better coordinated and more streamlined alcohol and drug treatment services to over 24,000 Victorians, in direct response to a 2011 VAGO report that said Labor left behind a fragmented and inconsistent alcohol and drug treatment sector that was negatively impacting people's care.
  • $11 million boost to Victoria's community-based pharmacotherapy system to improve services as part of Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013- 2017 and part of broader reforms to Victoria's alcohol and drug treatment system.
  • New, targeted Alcohol and Drug initiatives in 27 Emergency Departments with $15 million funding.
  • Invested $4 million in the 2014-15 State Budget to build a new, four-bed residential withdrawal unit to support mothers to tackle their addiction without disrupting the formation of bonds with their young babies.
  • Established Australia's first Family Drug Treatment Court to improve the safety and wellbeing of young children who have been removed from their parents as a result of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • 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.
  • Passed legislation to ban the sale and possession of emerging drugs such as synthetic cannabis and other laboratory derived narcotics and introduced new laws to combat synthetic drugs which mimic illicit drugs, for example: synthetic cannabis such as Marley and Kronic.
  • Strong laws and regulations introduced for licensed venues, including a freeze on late-night liquor licenses, to reduce harms associated with alcohol and make Victoria's entertainment precincts safer and more enjoyable.
  • Banned the sale and display of bongs, to send a strong and important message that cannabis is an illegal drug, which when consumed can have harmful consequences.
  • 1,700 new police on beat are helping to curtail illicit drug supply.
  • Strong laws and regulations introduced for licensed venues, including a freeze on late-night liquor licenses, to reduce harms associated with alcohol and make Victoria's entertainment precincts safer and more enjoyable.

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