More Victorians will have better access to mental health services with the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program to be rolled out in the Goulburn Valley.
Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley announced in Shepparton today that, following a recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the HOPE initiative’s success, the Andrews Labor Government would soon be rolling it out in Goulburn Valley.
The recent interim report from the Royal Commission found too many Victorians needing help can’t find suitable support and 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 – but you can’t put a price on lives lost, particularly in rural and regional areas where the Royal Commission found the annual suicide rate was about 40 per cent higher than in Melbourne.
In addition to a new revenue mechanism to support these major reforms, the Royal Commission recommended:
- More acute beds
- Workforce development to address the workforce challenges that are even more pronounced in regional and rural Victoria, including more graduate placements, scholarships and support international recruitment, as well as adding Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to the Free TAFE list
- The state-wide rollout of Aboriginal health and wellbeing teams.
The HOPE initiative provides support and follow up for people leaving hospital after a suicide attempt. Assertive outreach workers also work with families, friends and carers, to help their loved one during this critical time.
The program is already in place in 12 locations across the State and more than 2,500 people have been assessed and supported through the initiative so far.
In 2018, Victoria lost 720 people to suicide – more than three times the number of lives lost on our roads.
The Royal Commission will hand down its final report in October this year and the Labor Government will accept and implement all its recommendations.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
As stated by Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
“We’re making sure everyone in the Goulburn Valley has the mental health support they need, when they need it. The HOPE program here will save lives.”
“While the vital work of the Royal Commission continues, we are investing in programs to give Victorians access to the resources and support they need to get well and stay well.”
“Whether we’ve experienced it ourselves or watched a loved one suffer – every Victorian has felt the impacts of mental health. As a community and a government, we need to work together to fix the system.”