Fast-tracked mental health support for Victorians

There are plenty of ways to support other people or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Headspace (1800 650 890), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

Victoria’s mental health system will receive nearly $60 million in an additional increase to support Victorians when they need it. Now and after the pandemic is over we will continue to work together to fight this deadly virus.

Building increased Hospital capacity will be vital to the well-being of all Victorians as the challenges of the global pandemic hit hard for some, especially those people already living with mental ill health.

The $59.7 million in new funding will strengthen the surge capacity of clinical and community mental health services across Victoria to cope with additional presentations and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments. This ensures everyone can get the care they need, even as demand for services spikes.

This funding will also fast-track delivery of more new public acute mental health beds recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system, boost community mental health services and accelerate the state-wide roll out of Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program.

In the face of the current crisis, opening hours in mental health community clinics will be extended to enable  face-to-face sessions and assessments to be conducted in accordance with physical distancing requirements. This takes pressure off busy emergency departments, focusing on prevention and providing support to those who need it.

More mental health staff will be embedded within Ambulance Victoria’s RefCom service to support paramedics and ensure the right advice and information is provided to frequent callers, including developing care plans as needed.

Community mental health services and all 15 Melbourne based headspace centres will be provided funding to do more proactive outreach throughout the pandemic – reaching out to known mental health clients to check that they are ok and have the support they need.

We’re also providing additional mental health and well-being support for our police, nurses and paramedics with Phoenix, the Centre of Excellence in Trauma, providing support to employment assistance programs.

The successful HOPE post-suicide prevention program will be rolled out to seven new sites including Box Hill and Royal Melbourne Hospital close to those who live in the Hawthorn electorate. Monash Clayton, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows, Warrnambool and Mildura are also part of the state-wide roll-out. Additional clinical capacity will also be added to existing sites in Albury Wodonga and Ballarat.

This new funding builds on the almost $135 million the Victorian Government has already invested in mental health during the pandemic.