Mental Health Victoria today welcomed the $235 million investment from the Victorian Government in the state’s Recovery Workforce which will create 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection.
Mental Health Victoria CEO Angus Clelland said there are critical workforce shortages across all mental health disciplines – including nurses, psychiatrists, and community workers.
“These shortages are widely recognised as a potential brake on the mental health system reform process, so the Victorian Government’s funding announcement is an investment that is welcome, significant, timely and strategic,” Mr Clelland said.
“This funding will help Victoria get a head-start on building the workforce needed to deliver critical reforms ahead of the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System in February 2021.”
“It will also increase capacity to respond to increased demand for supports and services from COVID-19, which of course has had a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians and put further pressure on an already-strained system,” he said.
Mr Clelland said the announcement provided very welcome recognition and funding for the critical role of lived experience and the peer workforce, as well as of carers and of Aboriginal community controlled organisations in mental health and wellbeing support.
“In delivering the new program, it is also important that workforce shortages in regional Victoria are addressed as well as those supporting key at-risk groups, especially LGBTIQ+ Victorians,” he said.
Mr Clelland said the investment will not just have health and social benefits for the state, including taking the pressure off Emergency Departments.
“There is undisputedly a large economic payoff for investing in mental health in terms of jobs and the flow-on effects of helping to keep people living with mental illness safe, supported, and employed in the community,” he said.