Victoria's Mental Health Services
New era for mental health community support services
The Victorian Government introduced changes to the delivery of mental health community support services (MHCSS) across the state on 1 August 2014.
Twenty MHCSS now deliver flexible support packages, new local intake assessment and a revitalised youth residential rehabilitation program for people with mental illness and psychiatric disability in Victoria.
People will access MHCSS via intake service in their local catchment area, making it easier for individuals to move through the mental health community support system and connect to other important health and community support services they may need.
Treatment will be tailored to individual needs and preferences, and recognises the role of families and carers in supporting recovery.
For more information, go to the MHCSS reform website.
Mental Health Act 2014 starts 1 July
From 1 July, Victoria has a new Mental Health Act.
The Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) is a key element to the government's mental health reform agenda, and places individuals and carers at the centre of mental health treatment and care. The Act also recognises the important role of families and carers in supporting their family members in their recovery journey.
At the heart of these reforms is a supported decision-making model that promotes strong communication between practitioners, patients and their families and carers. This means that people with a mental illness will be supported to make and participate in treatment decisions and to have their views and preferences considered and respected.
The Act promotes and enables voluntary treatment in preference to compulsory treatment wherever possible. Where compulsory treatment is necessary, it will be provided in the least restrictive and intrusive manner possible.
The Department has been working with mental health services and other stakeholders to prepare for the transition to the new legislation.
You can view a video message and read a Communique from the Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Mary Wooldridge MP here.
For more information about the Act, go to the Mental Health Act 2014 Handbook.
Call for Submissions: Victoria's first Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service
The Victorian Government has made a commitment to provide advocacy services for patients subject to Victoria's new Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act).
The Department of Health is looking for an entity that can bring relevant capacity, expertise, quality and innovation to the establishment of a 'first of type' statewide Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service and is committed to delivering high quality advocacy services.
The aim of the advocacy services to be provided is to assist patients to participate in decision-making related to their mental health treatment, care and recovery with the goal of improving their capacity to live as full a life as possible.
The new service will be independent and will operate during business hours. It will provide face-to-face, individual advocacy for patients subject to the Act in rural Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne and also offer a telephone triage service. The focus of the advocacy will be mental health treatment, care and recovery, not general advocacy, and the type of advocacy to be provided will be representational or instructed advocacy.
The process is open to entities that do not provide (and in the future are not likely to provide) mental health services. Closing date for submissions is: 2pm Thursday 17 July 2014.
For further information and to request a copy of the Call for Submissions contact:
Dr Clare Carberry
For more information about Mental Health Reform visit the Mental Health Act Reform page.
Mental health complaints commisioner
Lynne Coulson Barr was appointed as Victoria’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner on 15 April 2014, and will take office on 1 July 2014 when Victoria’s new Mental Health Act 2014 comes into effect.
Victoria's priorities for mental health reform 2013 – 2015
Victoria's priorities for mental health reform 2013 – 2015 outlines an agenda for change that has three key goals:
It highlights actions that are already in progress and others that will be delivered over the coming years to achieve better mental health for all Victorians.
Providing a safe environment for all: framework for reducing restrictive interventions
The framework, Providing a safe environment for all, is central to the Victoria Government's commitment to reduce restrictive practices and provide mental health services that are safe places for all people accessing treatment and care, their carers and families and those who work with them. The framework has been developed as part of the Reducing Restrictive Interventions project and will assist services in developing a local response to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint through a culture of safety and recovery.
The framework is underpinned by a comprehensive review of the research and evidence relation to reducing restrictive interventions.
Nursing observation is the purposeful gathering of information from people receiving care to inform clinical decision making. It is central to nursing practice, multifaceted and critical to good care. Consideration of nursing observation is complicated by the various understandings of what is meant by the term within service policies and in the literature. This nursing observation guideline is intended to provide clinicians, services and service users with clear direction regarding the role of, and best practice approaches to, the conduct of nursing observation of people receiving care in Victorian mental health inpatient units.
Current catchment arrangements for public clinical mental health services are not optimal. A number of possible options for reconfiguring metropolitan public clinical mental health service catchments and associated health service auspicing are outlined in a consultation paper, Clinical mental health service catchments, August 2013. These options are not final and may be adjusted based on the outcomes of consultations. They are intended to support discussion about the opportunities for change and system improvement.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the progress of public mental health services in implementing Caring together - an action plan for carer participation in Victorian public mental health service. This report provides an opportunity for mental health services to compare levels of participation, examples of best practice and carer participation initiatives. This report uses the survey's findings to acknowledge evidence of good progress and identify where improvement is needed to increase carer participation in clinical mental health services. The survey findings will also be used to help inform future directions for carer participation programs and carer involvement strategies.
The aim of the Carer Support Fund (CSF) is to assist carers in their role of caring for a person with a mental illness by providing funding to assist to promote and sustain the caring relationship and improve the wellbeing of carers. The Carers Support Fund is administered by the Victorian Mental Health Carers Network. All applications are made at and approved by the local mental health service who then forward individual applications to the Victorian Mental Health Carers Network for processing.
For further details contact the local mental health service case manager where the person you care for is registered, or visit the Victorian Mental Health Carers Network website.
Consumer Partnership Forum
The Minister for Mental Health (the Minister) invited Victorian clinical and non-clinical mental health services to nominate a consumer workforce member to engage directly in a new Mental Health Consumer Partnership approach. The Victorian Government is committed to a program of important reform for mental health that includes a strong consumer and carer voice. As a consequence, the Department of Health (the department), Mental Health Drugs and Regions Division (MHDR) have established the Consumer Partnership Dialogues (Consumer Partnership) to facilitate collaboration across the Department, the consumer workforce and the peak, the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council. The regular dialogues will establish an ongoing opportunity for engagement with the consumer community in relation to the implementation of mental health initiatives to improve outcomes for mental health consumers and their families.
New mental health legislation is a central element in the Victorian Government’s agenda for mental health reform.
The government has undertaken extensive public consultations to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Mental Health Act 1986 and people with a mental illness, families, carers, clinicians and service providers expect of mental health legislation for Victoria. These consultations were extremely useful, with the community and government working in partnership to shape what a new Mental Health Act in Victoria could look like.