cohealth, one of Victoria’s leading community health providers, has today welcomed Minister Foley’s announcement of an additional $50 million in funding for community-based psychosocial support services as an important first step in repairing Victoria’s mental health system.
Victoria’s community mental health services have long been the envy of other States and Territories, delivering psychosocial support and rehabilitation programs that enable those experiencing mental health difficulties to become and stay well. However the loss of many of these services in recent years as funding has transitioned into the NDIS has led to heartbreaking stories from former clients of declining mental health and increased pressure on their family and carers.
cohealth Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said that “Over the last four years, consumers, service providers, and advocates together, have loudly and at length urged the Government to invest the necessary money to save Victoria’s existing community mental health services, and restore those that have already been lost. People with serious mental illness cannot live in hospital wards or emergency rooms, and neither should we medicalise the experiences of people with mental illness who have a right to a meaningful life in community.”
“We are very pleased that the State Government has heeded these calls and committed to this initial $50m investment to address gaps in Victoria’s mental health system,” added Ms Morgain.
Investment in community mental health services has the potential to significantly reduce pressure on acute services, by ensuring the availability of community based, timely support for those who need it. To maximise these benefits Ms Morgain urged the Government to work closely with consumer bodies, sector stakeholders and existing service providers to ensure funds go to where they are most needed.
Ms Morgain further added “It is imperative that the Government move quickly If we are to retain the precious, and highly skilled workforce we need to deliver these services. There is an excellent opportunity to develop new community based models in Victoria that will complement what is provided by the NDIS currently, and we look forward to working with the Government on these.’