The National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) today welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of almost $26.9 million to create 15 new mental health clinics across Victoria providing increased support for the mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission’s Chair, Mrs Lucy Brogden AM, said the Government has recognised how stage four restrictions are having a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many Victorians.
“This is another crucial step in the national commitment to our mental health and wellbeing during an extraordinarily trying time for us all,” Mrs Brogden said.
“The Commission is pleased the Government has requested guidance and support in finding the best ways in which to provide for the Victorian people after a significant increase in the use of mental health services and emergency departments, particularly from young people.”
“We congratulate the Government on this commitment and urge all Victorians to take care of themselves and each other, and to acknowledge that their mental health is as equally important as our physical health. By doing this we will get through this together.”
Nine clinics will be established in Greater Melbourne and six in Regional Victoria. Mrs Brogden said they will deliver integrated and multi-disciplinary mental health treatment and care in-communities with no referral needed.
These 15 new clinics will take the pressure off hospital emergency departments where people have been presenting with serious mental health and self-harm cases, and will respond to other constraints and barriers to accessing mental health services such as physical access to GPs, and mental health treatment and care usually available to Victorians.
The Commission also welcomes the funding commitment to monitor and evaluate this new model, so that we can learn from the implementation and operation of this surge capacity response to the pandemic.
“It’s also vital that we provide quick access when and where it is needed, particularly for the identified at-risk groups,” Mrs Brogden said.
“The Commission is committed to ensuring that every Australian has access to support and care where and how they need to access it. We believe all Australians should be able to live a contributing life.”
The National Mental Health Commission has launched #GettingThroughThisTogether, which is stage two of its campaign to provide tips and options for Australians seeking out support. “While living under difficult restrictions we need to be vigilant in caring for our mental health and wellbeing by looking out for signs that we are anxious and distressed, and as much as possible being proactive with our self-care. This new campaign has helpful tips and information that is worthwhile pinning to your fridge as a daily reminder.”