Victorian Government’s new community mental health package welcomed; Federal Government urged to commit more

Mental Health Victoria

Mental Health Victoria, the peak body for the state’s mental health sector, today welcomed the Victorian Government’s new $22 million commitment to fast track more mental health support in the community.

Mental Health Victoria CEO Angus Clelland said the urgent package would provide critical additional supports to many people in the community who were struggling with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 while Victoria waits for the longer-term Royal Commission reforms to kick-in starting from the middle of 2022.

“It was only a few weeks ago that we entered into discussions with the Mental Health Minister James Merlino and the Department of Health on options to address some of the more pressing needs in the community,” Mr Clelland said.

“On behalf of the mental health sector, I would like to thank the Victorian Government for being so responsive.”

The new package includes $13.3 million for 20 pop-up community mental health services across the state, as well as $4 million for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and $1.2 million to boost the capacity of LGBTIQ+ community organisations.

Mr Clelland said it would provide support to many thousands of individuals and families across the state.

“Critically, it will draw on the strength and agility of Victoria’s incredible network of community health and mental health organisations, which are ideally placed to provide services that meet the specific needs of local communities,” he said.

“This will help reduce pressure on the hospital system at a time when it is under enormous strain.”

Mr Clelland said it is important also to remember that responsibility for mental health is shared between the Federal Government and the states and territories.

“In September 2020, we gave the Federal Government top marks for its rapid establishment of its COVID response mental health program through the Victorian primary health networks. A year on, the need is even greater. We call on the Federal Government to dig deeper and to match or, better still, exceed the new commitment made today by the Victorian Government,” Mr Clelland said.

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