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Victoria's Mental Health Services

What's New

Ministerial Communique - Victoria's Priorities for Mental Health

The Minister for Mental Health provides an update to Victorians on the progress of the activities and initiatives that have been undertaken or are underway against each of the six priorities of the plan.

  Ministerial Communique - Victoria's Priorities for Mental Health 

Enhanced Community Mental Health Initiative

The Victorian Government is seeking submissions from State Government funded Mental Health Community Support Service organisations for the Enhanced Community Mental Health Initiative.

The Government is committed to enhancing the capabilities of these funded organisations and is allocating more than $4 million of capital funding to ensure facility safety, deliver improvements for consumers, carers and staff, and innovation, such as co-location and integration with other organisations.

The closing date for receiving submissions is 4pm, Friday 6 February 2015.

If you have any queries please contact Mr Duncan Smart, Senior Project Officer, Mental Health Branch on 9096 8349.

For information on how to apply, see the   Enhanced Community Mental Health Guidelines.

Revised Mental Health Act (MHA) forms

Two of the MHA forms, MHA 101 and MHA 131 have been revised to improve their operation.

The reverse side of the new MHA 101 Assessment Order form has been amended to add a definition for ‘authorised person’ to clearly identify those able to take a person to a designated mental health service.  Part C of the new MHA 131 Informed consent to electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) form has been amended to more clearly to when informed consent is required to a treatment change.  The revised forms are easily identified by the Oct 2014 date on the foot on the front page.

The paper stock of the current versions of both forms (dated July 2014) can continue to be used as correct.

  Assessment order MHA 101 form

  MHA 131 Informed consent to electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)form Oct 2014

Victorian eating disorders strategy

The Victorian Government launched Victoria’s first Eating disorders strategy on Thursday 9 October 2014.

The Victorian eating disorders strategy (the strategy) considers eating disorders in the broader sociocultural context, and sets a joint agenda for working across the connected areas of prevention, early identification, treatment and support for people with eating disorders of all ages, stages and genders, and their families and carers.

The strategy promotes collaboration across sectors including primary health, mental health and specialist eating disorders services to provide more integrated and responsive services to people with eating disorders.

Read more about the Victorian eating disorders strategy.

Acute Community Intervention Service Guidelines

The Victorian Government is pleased to announce the release of the Acute Community Intervention Service Guidelines (ACIS guidelines) for mental health service delivery.

The ACIS guidelines replace the Psychiatric crisis assessment and treatment services: guidelines for service provision (CAT guidelines). ACIS extends the former CAT approach to include interventions that are packaged together to provide a unified approach to meet the needs of the client and, where required, their families.

The summary document outlines an overview of ACIS and how to initiate an ACIS response. This document is important to a range of stakeholders, including: police and ambulance services; child protection and out of home care providers; and; General Practitioners (GPs) who often provide the first response for people who are acutely unwell.

Read more about the Acute Community Intervention Service Guidelines (ACIS guidelines).

Expressions of Interests for Mental Health First Aid training

The Victorian Government is looking for expressions of interest from community organisations to receive Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training.

MHFA training equips participants with the capacity to help someone developing a mental health problem until professional help is available.

There are limited places available. Eligibility criteria apply. Applications are now open and close 5pm, 6 October 2014.

For information on how to apply see Mental Health first aid training - expression of interest.

Mental health workforce strategy released

On 10 September 2014, the Victorian Government released Victoria's Specialist Mental Health Workforce Framework: Strategic Directions 2014--24, supported by implementation plans for clinical mental health services and Mental Health Community Support Services.

The strategy and implementation plans provide clear direction about future workforce development strategies and actions that will help Victoria's mental health workforce to respond to the significant reforms currently taking place.

Read more about the Mental health workforce strategy

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
Health Strategy Branch
Department of Health
Telephone: [03] 9096 6953

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:

  • Giving Victorians of all ages the best chance to enjoy good mental health and wellbeing;
  • Ensuring that people experiencing mental illness receive high quality help easily and early; and
  • Provide well-coordinated care that helps people address the diverse health, social and economic impacts of mental illness.

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.

  Reducing restrictive interventions: Literature review and document analysis

  Providing a safe environment for all: Framework for reducing restrictive interventions

Nursing Observation Guidelines

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.

Clinical Catchments

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.

  Clinical mental health service catchments - consultation paper

  Clinical mental health service catchments - summary of consultation paper

  Consumer participation in Victorian public mental health services - progress report

The purpose of this paper is to report on the progress of public mental health services in implementing the Strengthening consumer participation in Victoria's public mental health service: action plan 2009 (the action plan). This report provides an opportunity for mental health services to compare levels of participation, examples of best practice and consumer participation initiatives. This report uses the survey's findings to acknowledge evidence of good progress and identify where improvement is needed to increase consumer participation in clinical mental health services. The survey findings will also be used to help inform future directions for consumer participation programs and consumer involvement strategies.

  Family and carer participation and involvement in Victorian public mental health services - progress report

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.

Carer Support Fund

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.

For further information contact Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council or email:

Victoria’s New Mental Health Act

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.

Quick Links
Mental Health Act Reform
Mental Health Act 2014 Handbook
Mental Health Act 2014
Mental Health Regulations 2014
Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) Reform
Mental Health Consumer and Carer Program Review
Outcome Measurement
(Measuring Consumer Health Outcomes in Public Mental Health Services in Victoria )

Information for Consumers, Carers & Services
Look for local mental health servicesAccessing Services
Find a Mental Health Service

(Contact details for Triage, Hospitals and Clinics)
Patient Rights
(What you as a patient, carer or relative need to know)
Information for Families and Carers
Families where a parent has a mental illness
Information on Mental Illness
(Definitions of common mental illnesses)
Mental Health Professional Online Development

Related Sites
Information Analysis & Reporting
Chief Psychiatrist
Alcohol & other Drugs Services in Victoria
Mental Illness Research Fund
Last updated: 4 November, 2014
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