cohealth praises major budget investment in mental health

Released on 20th May 2021

Victorian community health service, cohealth, has applauded the State Government’s massive investment in health care in today’s Budget, particularly the $3.8b for mental health. 

“The Royal Commission process revealed just how broken our mental health system is, and this Budget funds a roadmap to a better system for all Victorians,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth. 

“cohealth supports a range of people in the community experiencing mental ill-health, from young people carrying the burden of childhood trauma, to socially isolated elderly people, refugees and asylum seekers facing discrimination and people recovering from life crises.” 

“Simply increasing mental health services is not the silver bullet solution – it’s also about the quality of the services, ensuring they are tailored to people’s unique needs, and accessible by everyone in the community.” 

“We particularly welcome the introduction the local health and wellbeing services, services to support the mental health of infants, children, families and young people, and to ensure people with lived experience are central to rebuilding the system.   

“As an organisation with deep connections with marginalised and vulnerable communities, we look forward to working with the State Government to implement some of the Budget initiatives,” said Ms Bartholomeusz. 

cohealth applauds the Government’s commitment in this budget to funding a second medically supervised injecting service, saying it was critical service that would save lives and provide people with the opportunity to engage in treatment and rehabilitation.  

“It’s heartening to see a boost for the health system as a whole, but we still need more services that intervene early before people’s health problems become a health crisis requiring emergency care,” said Ms Bartholomeusz. 

Community health is uniquely positioned to provide the comprehensive suite of services needed to wrap around and support clients’ health and integrates funding from both the state and federal government. 

“During the pandemic, community health services showed their ability to leverage existing relationships with isolated and hard-to-reach communities such as refugees and asylum seekers, the elderly, people in public housing, people experiencing homelessness and those with a history of mental illness. 

“It’s an important time to recognise the value and contribution of the Victorian Community Health model to the broader health system and ensure that it is properly resourced to provide healthcare and support to Victorians in need.    

— Ends — 

More information: Lanie Harris 0418 552 377 

More on cohealth: 

cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services. 

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