Traineeships Boost Aboriginal Mental Health Professionals

17 March 2019

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting the number of Aboriginal health workers in the mental health system with ten new trainees placed in health services across the state.

The $3.5 million Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship Program has been rolled out at eight locations where trainees are already learning on the job while they undertake their tertiary studies in mental health.

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley today met with two of the trainees during a visit to Bendigo Health. The traineeship program will help grow a mental health workforce that can provide culturally safe and responsive mental health care for Aboriginal Victorians.

Graduates will be offered ongoing employment in their host health service after successfully completing their three-year degree.

The program is just one part of the Labor Government’s plans to improve the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians.

A further $4.9 million is being invested to help build the Aboriginal mental health workforce, supporting a number of new, senior Aboriginal clinical and therapeutic positions in Aboriginal community-controlled health services.

The traineeship program and the new Aboriginal clinical and therapeutic positions complement four Aboriginal mental health demonstration projects, operating in four locations across the state.

The demonstration projects are testing new service models for Aboriginal Victorians with mental illness and other complex health and social needs. Additional funding of $4 million was allocated in the 2018-19 Victorian Budget to support these projects for another 12 months.

Aboriginal organisations across Victoria were among the many groups who participated in consultations to inform the terms of reference for the upcoming Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The Government has already advised it will accept and implement all recommendations of the Royal Commission, which is due to deliver an interim report by November 30.

Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

This traineeship program aims to not only help boost numbers but also encourage more aboriginal people to consider a career in mental health services.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“Aboriginal Victorians need to be confident that when they need mental health support, they can access care that works for them, and that means care that is culturally safe and close to home.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“We will continue working hard to improve the mental health, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians. To do this we must break down barriers and build trust.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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