Regional Focus For Mental Health System Reforms

The Andrews Labor Government will accept each and every one of the recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, as part of its interim report.

Minister for Regional Development and Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes today visited Broadford Living and Learning Centre, an important local organisation dedicated to supporting community health and wellbeing.

The Royal Commission has found too many Victorians needing help can’t find suitable support, while those who do access ‘the system’ find it hard to negotiate their way through it. People living with mental illness are waiting longer and getting sicker before they can access services.

Poor mental health costs Victoria $14.2 billion annually. The Commission also found that the annual suicide rate was about 40 per cent higher in rural and regional Victoria than in metropolitan Melbourne.

Only a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will truly fix the ailing system and make sure Victorians in crisis can get the help that they need. In regional Victoria, the Royal Commission recommends:

  • Expanding the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program to include the Goulburn Valley, Mildura and Warrnambool, in addition to existing sites in Wangaratta, Geelong, Latrobe Valley, Ballarat and Bendigo
  • Better access to HOPE in regional and rural areas through extra clinical outreach services
  • More acute beds
  • Workforce development to address the workforce challenges that are even more pronounced in regional and rural Victoria. The recommendation includes additional graduate placements, scholarships, supporting international recruitment and adding Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to the Free TAFE list
  • The state-wide rollout of Aboriginal health and wellbeing teams.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System also recommends a revenue mechanism to support major mental health reform. The Government will consider how to deliver this recommendation.

Every Victorian has felt the impact of mental health. Many Victorians don’t know where to turn – and it’s costing lives. The Royal Commission is about building a co-ordinated, quality mental health system from the ground up.

In addition to previous community consultation sessions in Bendigo and Shepparton, the Commission will hold further public hearings in 2020 before delivering its final report in October.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.

Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes

“Whether it’s our own experience or the experience of someone we love, everyone in our community has felt the real impact of mental health – and with it, the failure of our system.”

“When it’s local families, local communities and local lives on the line, we can – we must – do better.”