What the Royal Commission said
The Royal Commission recommends that the Victorian Government:
- Ensure people can access Local Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. Either through a general practitioner referral or any other service provider. It can also be through a discussion with the service's access and navigation support worker.
- Ensure people can access Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. Either through a referral from a Local Mental Health and Wellbeing Service. It can also be through direct referral from a medical practitioner.
- Ensure people can access Statewide Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. This can be through a referral from an Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
- Promote and design with people with lived experience a new website. This will provide clear information about Victoria's mental health and wellbeing system. The website will help users to:
a. understand their mental health needs
b. identify services and supports across all relevant provider types; and
c. access online self-help resources.
- Work with helpline services to improve connections with mental health and wellbeing services. This will help people find and access treatment, care and support.
What are the opportunities?
The current mental health system is complex and fragmented. It is also difficult to access public specialist mental health services. Consumers, families, carers and supporters asked the Royal Commission to make it easier to navigate the system when people need help.
The intent of this recommendation is to make it easier for Victorians to find and access the right supports at the right time. This will create more effective use of localised and lower intensity services. It also means acute services are better targeted to those most in need.
In conjunction with Recommendation 7, there is an opportunity to help all age groups by:
- Developing clearer pathways into Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals, Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services and Statewide Mental Health and Wellbeing Services.
- Changing how people have their needs assessed and responded to. In particular when they seek or are referred to mental health and wellbeing services.
- Building a range of supports that everyone in the community can use to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
- Helping people find public, private and other services.
- Developing a new mental health and wellbeing website.
- Strengthening current non‑government organisations’ helplines and their connections to mental health and wellbeing services.
What are we doing?
A new mental health and wellbeing access policy
We are developing a new access policy for Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals, Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, and Statewide Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. The new access policy will support consumers, families, supporters and carers to access the right services, when they need them, and in their own communities.
Mental health and wellbeing services will provide coordinated care and support consumers, families, supporters and carers as they access services and move through different levels of the system.
Updated mental health triage guidelines
We will also be working with partners across the sector to update the triage guidelines used by public mental health and wellbeing services in Victoria. The existing guidelines have been in place since 2010 and will be updated to reflect contemporary best practice.
The refreshed guidelines will be appropriate for all age and diversity cohorts and support matching of consumers with the right services, at the time they are needed.
Developing a new mental health and wellbeing website
We are working on improving how people can find and access services in Victoria’s future mental health and wellbeing system. We are doing this by working with people with lived experience to design a website that brings together information about services and supports available for individuals and families.
The new website will be a source of valuable information that helps people access the right services to support their care and recovery.
Improving helpline connections to mental health and wellbeing services
We are also supporting work to build better connections between state-funded helplines and the state’s mental health and wellbeing system by improving the communication pathways between existing helpline services.
Reviewed 26 February 2023