Victoria’s first steps to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission

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A few months ago, the Victorian Government announced an unprecedented $3.8 billion dollars to start implementing all 65 recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

It is clear that the voices of SANE’s communities were heard by the Royal Commission. SANE Peer Ambassador Sandy Jeffs OAM, gave evidence during the Commission’s hearings, along with Janet Meagher AM, Patron of the Anne Deveson Research Centre and a range of other experts associated with SANE. Many of the issues that SANE raised in our 2019 submission to the Royal Commission were reflected in the Final Report.

We are committed to working with our communities with lived experience and government and sector partners to ensure this funding leads to real and lasting change for the people we serve. We look forward to sharing any opportunities for our communities to engage with the Victorian Government throughout implementation.

But for now, back to that figure: $3.8 billion. 

While it might sound like a lot, no dollar amount can capture the priceless benefits of ensuring that Victorians can access a well-resourced, compassionate and responsive mental health and wellbeing system.

Here’s what the Victorian Government are doing with $3.8 billion:

$2.08 billion will go towards a new system with community-based services at the core. This will include:

  • New local adult and older adult mental health and wellbeing services – the first six sites have been announced, set to be open by the end of 2022
  • New services including adult area mental health and wellbeing services 
  • New Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing governance 
  • More treatment, care and support through Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services
  • Reformed infant and child area mental health and wellbeing services and hubs
  • New bed-based service options and funding to make beds operational.

$93 million will deliver services that are responsive to people’s level of need, including work to:

  • Redesign and uplift statewide mental health services
  • Co-design a new statewide trauma service
  • Establish a 24-hour contact service to support Victorians in crisis – in early design and development
  • Establish statewide specialist services for people living with mental illness and substance use or addiction
  • Expand the Custodial Forensic Youth Mental Health Service, additional specialist mental health assessment and treatment interventions for young people in custody.

$624.9 million will focus on promoting good mental health and preventing suicide and supporting people to reach their best mental health and wellbeing. This will include:

  • New mental health and wellbeing promotion office and promotion activities
  • New suicide prevention and response office and new intensive support program, and statewide rollout of HOPE program
  • Accommodation and wellbeing supports to 2,000 Victorians, 500 supported housing places for young people
  • Evidence-based mental health and wellbeing initiatives and pathways in schools
  • New Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing centre of excellence, expanded services and workforce
  • Supporting community organisations and peak bodies to engage with and support diverse communities
  • Rural workforce initiatives, digital trials and support programs.

$ 460.4 million will establish new system foundations, including:

  • New non-government agency, residential service and website developed and led by people with lived experience – codesign began recently for the residential service. SANE will reach out to our communities when more details are available on how to be engaged in this work.
  • New family and carer-led centres, increased support for carers and carer participation, including for young carers
  • An opt-out non-legal advocacy service, increased access to legal representation, and new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act – a consultation period has recently concluded on the Act
  • Establish the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, develop outcomes and performance/accountability frameworks
  • Mental health improvement unit in Safer Care Victoria, workforce training including Safewards expansion
  • Building a workforce pipeline, including a lived experience workforce – consultation has recently commenced.

And finally, $621.5 million will be directed towards new infrastructure and leading research and innovation to continually improve. Specifically, this will:

  • Establish the Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Design a contemporary mental health and wellbeing information and communications technology system
  • Support for regulators and complaints handling bodies, support implementation of NEPT Act and Child Safe Standards
  • Continue delivering coordinated responses, through co-located police and mental health clinicians
  • Redesigning and expanding Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing infrastructure:
    • Thomas Embling Hospital
    • Additional acute mental health beds in Warrnambool
    • Youth Prevention and Recovery Centres

We look forward to offering SANE’s unique expertise gained from 35 years' experience to ensure that implementation is genuinely inclusive of people with complex mental health needs and their families and support networks.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned!

Last updated: 25 August 2021

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