The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System handed down its final report yesterday. You can view the report here.
This was a process that ASU members have been involved in from the beginning, through our submission to the Commission and appearances at hearings.
The report acknowledges that the system has “catastrophically failed to live up to expectations and was underprepared for current and future challenges”. While this is not happy reading, the solutions proposed in the report have the potential to fundamentally change Victoria’s Mental Health system.
We were pleased to see the focus on early intervention and on wellbeing supports. The report highlights the “missing middle” – those whose needs are too complex to be dealt with through primary care, but not severe enough to require entry into clinical or crisis services. It also addressed the difficulty in navigating services, and the need for support that takes into account not just health, but all aspects of a person’s wellbeing.
Recommendation 3 of the report calls for a localised Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, delivered in partnership with public health services and non-government organisations that deliver wellbeing supports. It calls for between 50 and 60 new services across the state. Further recommendations detail the need for these services to be equipped to support Victoria’s diverse communities.
It’s also good to see a focus on attracting, training and retaining staff, and on increasing the data collection and workforce planning for the sector (Recommendation 57), as well as improving professional development opportunities (Recommendation 58)
The report is of course just the first step in improving our Mental Health System for both consumers and workers, and the ASU will continue to work with and to lobby the State Government throughout the implementation process.
The ASU will soon organise a meeting of mental health members to discuss how we can input into the crucial implementation of the recommendations.
If you know of colleagues who are yet to join the ASU they can join online here https://www.asu.asn.au/asujoin
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