Community mental health services in Victoria need a new stream of funding from government to ensure the wellbeing of all consumers, according to cohealth.
“There is a potential crisis looming for people with mental health conditions in Victoria due to the replacement of community mental health services with the NDIS,” said cohealth chief executive, Lyn Morgain.
“The NDIS supports complement a community mental health service, but are not a replacement for the current services. Additionally, not all current clients will receive a package of supports from the NDIS.”
NDIS is a disability service, not a mental health service, and was not intended to provide services to all people with mental health issues yet all community based funding for mental health in Victoria (as well as commonwealth funded support) has been rolled into NDIS.
That money is effectively lost to all those clients who rely on community mental health services for their ongoing recovery and wellbeing and will not access, or have their needs met through, the NDIS. It has left a substantial funding gap for community mental health services.
“Community-based mental health services are best-placed to work with people who are recovering from a mental illness in the community, with appropriate psychosocial support,” Ms Morgain said.
“These services are different from clinical services which focus on clinical treatment. Clinical services and community mental health services complement each other in supporting consumers to manage their mental wellbeing and increase community participation.”
Victorian mental health peak body, VICSERV, estimates that as many as 10,000 Victorians living with mental illness will be unable to access an appropriate service when the NDIS is fully implemented  cohealth estimates that this will be 40% of its current community mental health service consumers.
“The State budget must allocate these funds to community mental health services to make up for the changes in service provision that will flow from NDIS roll out,” Ms Morgain said
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 VICSERV 2016, State Budget Submission 2017-18 Towards a Responsive Mental Health System in Victoria,