Youth the focus of mental health investment
A major youth mental health package is the centrepiece of the 2010 State Budget outlay in the Government’s nation-leading mental health reform strategy—Because Mental Health Matters.
Building on more than $300 million already invested in the strategy to date, Minister for Mental Health Lisa Neville said the additional boost would provide more support to the one in five Victorians living with a mental illness and their families.
Ms Neville said Government funding to improve the mental health of young Victorians included new mental health teams in rural and regional areas to help hundreds of isolated young Victorians, new youth crisis response capacity and a major focus on youth suicide.
‘The Government is committing $4.9 million over four years to introduce and expand rural youth mental health teams, to ensure that young Victorians in country areas have access to services tailored to their specific needs.
‘Two new teams will provide personalised services to about 650 young Victorians each year.
Funding is provided for a new approach to reducing suicide among young people aged 10 to 25.
This initiative will set up two metropolitan and two rural programs targeted at local communities identified as having an increased risk linked to recent incidence of suicide or associated risk factors.
Ms Neville said a further $3.6 million over four years would establish youth suicide community support programs to identify and target young Victorians at risk of self harm with a focus on gay, lesbian and young Aboriginal people.
Staff will be based in the community in, for example, community health centres or youth centres with strong links to schools.
They would provide preventive support, activities and early intervention services to young people, their family and friends and other people recommended to them.
Services to young Victorians in crisis will be boosted with a $3.5 million four-year allocation to create two community-based youth crisis response teams.
They will work closely with young Victorians who are highly distressed in the community and posing a risk to themselves and others.
Ms Neville said $36.6 million over four years had been set aside to carry out reforms as part of the major revamp in the Mental Health Act 2010 to go before the Victorian Parliament this year.
‘The Mental Health Act 2010 is an important and long overdue reform that will ensure our mental health legislation is focused on the rights of the patient and is in line with contemporary treatments,’ Ms Neville said.
‘It is important that we back up this reform and our long-term strategy with resources to make a real difference to Victorians with a mental illness and their families.’
The new $473 million Bendigo Hospital will provide a major boost of 33 new mental health beds as part of an expanded new 75-bed mental health inpatient facility.
The Government will invest $14.2 million to build the 22-bed Austin Community Care Unit to be built on the Heidelberg Repatriation Centre site, providing clinical care and rehabilitation in a ‘home-like’ environment where people can learn or re-learn the everyday skills necessary for successful community living.
The development of the new unit means that, for the first time, all metropolitan areas will have access to their own Community Care Unit.
In addition, the Budget makes available $45.9 million to open new beds nearing completion at three sites—25 adult mental health beds at Northern Hospital, 20 youth prevention and recovery care beds in Bendigo and Frankston and eight adult mental health beds at Geelong.
Ms Neville said the Budget also provided $20.8 million over four years for alcohol and drug services, including additional services in Melbourne’s growth areas of Casey, Hume, Whittlesea, Melton and Wyndham, supporting Aboriginal alcohol and drug addiction services and a continuation of existing drug treatment and harm reduction services in St Kilda.