A mental health sector that can only treat people in crisis will continue to struggle. Investment in community mental health and preventative services that are accessible to the 90,000 Victorians who need them is vital. We call upon parties that would form government to detail their plans for a fully rounded and effective mental health sector.
Victoria was once considered an international leader and innovator in mental health service delivery and research. Unfortunately, due to systematic underfunding and neglect, the community mental health system and the psychosocial rehabilitation sector are on the brink of collapse.
Whilst the recent funding announcements in the clinical and emergency mental health services in the state budget are welcome, we voice our concern that services focusing on prevention and rehabilitation continue being ignored.
Of the 3% of Victorians who experience severe mental health issues each year, only 1% will be treated by the current mental health system. That leaves a gap of over 90,000 people with nowhere to go until they reach a crisis and present in an emergency department.
We all pay the price for not making this investment. We lose the opportunity to use these services when we need them, we watch those we care for struggle without help that they should be entitled to. Prevention is more cost-effective than intensive emergency interventions but the political will has failed to make this best case investment.
Mental health consumers, families, friends and the mental health workforce all stand to benefit from a properly funded, inclusive and accessible community mental health sector. Tandem is joining other peak bodies and organisations to support ongoing funding of community mental health services.
Peter | "I work in the mental health community-managed services. We deal with people here in Barwon who need support to maintain a roof over their heads. In the past, many people who we saw as vulnerable to homelessness were utilising services funded via the MHCSS and working closely with supporters and other advocates. As these services disappear – keeping in mind that the NDIS isn’t replacing these with like for like services – these relationships break down and these people then come to us for crisis accommodation and homelessness support."
Read Peter's story.
SAFE | Mental health services are safe for all
INCLUSIVE | Support & strengthen engagement of family and friends in mental health services
FAIR | Family and friends can access tailored government supports and services that meet their needs