Mental health pop up clincs to arrive

The State Government has announced a multi million dollar package to support new mental health and wellbeing services across the state, including pop up clinics in the Yarra Ranges, Cardinia, Knox and Maroondah LGAs as the pandemic weighs heavily on Victorians.

A $22 million investment will be delivered to fast-tracked, tailored care to those who need it, reducing the burden on emergency departments while Covid-19 admissions rise.

Some $13.3 million of that will deliver 20 pop-up community mental health services – with around 90 dedicated clinicians providing 93,000 additional hours of wellbeing checks and counselling to many thousands of Victorians needing support.

The pop-up centres will be delivered by EACH in the local government areas and will open progressively from the end of September.

A dedicated triage and referral hotline and website will be established in the coming days so people can start booking appointments.

Minister for Mental Health James Merlino said, “Our local communities have been so vital in supporting us over the past 18 months – and these innovative local pop-up mental health services will deliver the support people need, close to home.”

The funding will also provide dedicated support for communities who may be at higher risk of isolation or mental health concerns from the pandemic.

A $4 million package will go to supporting first nations people with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to self-determine the best, most culturally appropriate response to mental health and wellbeing needs.

An investment of $1 million will expand the Triple P parenting programs, supporting more than 20,000 Victorian families whose children are experiencing anxiety, while $1.2 million will boost the capacity of peak LGBTIQ+ community organisations.

A further $1 million will support the mental health workforce to better respond to patients presenting with trauma, and $1.5 million will allow the Royal Children’s Hospital, Vichealth and key partners to better support the most vulnerable groups of children and young people, both now and into the future.

Alongside this extra support, an investment of more than $300 million from the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has started rolling out this week to deliver 14 critical new Infant, Child and Youth Area Mental Health Services – a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

This will see an extra 1,149 infants, children and young people as well as their families receive tailored support, expanding youth services’ capacity by 14 per cent.

“We’re not wasting a moment delivering the huge reforms the Royal Commission recommended for our state’s mental health services – but we know the pandemic has increased immediate demand, so we’re investing to make sure more Victorians have access to the support they need right now,” Mr Merlino said.