Further funding announced to support Victorian mental health services

17 August 2020

Written by: Komal Fatima

The Australian Government increases financial support to assist Victorians during COVID-19.

The Australian Government is providing an extra $31.9 million in funding to create 15 mental health clinics across Victoria and enhance essential support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new clinics will be spread across the state, with nine to be established in Greater Melbourne and six in regional Victoria.

With Victorians facing ongoing restrictions, threatening job security and limiting social connection, the rise in mental health concerns has become a pressing issue.

The effects of the lockdown have resulted in many Victorians experiencing poor mental stability and anxiety issues, resulting in an increased demand for mental health care services and easier access to counselling.

To make counselling services more accessible, the clinics will be located at existing GP clinics, headspace centres and other community sites where people can access general health care. The clinics will provide on-site mental health support and also arrange for referrals or social support, if need be.

Recent data shows a 33 percent rise, compared to last year, in children and young people in Victoria presenting to hospital with self-harm injuries in the past 6 weeks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there has been a concerning rise in self-harm injuries and usage of services like Beyond Blue, Lifeline, and Kids Helpline.

“While we’re fighting the spread of this virus in Victoria we also need to guard against the devastating mental health impacts it is having,” he said.

In addition to the clinics, a further $5 million in funding will also be provided to increase digital and phone services for groups experiencing significant challenges. Including those living with eating disorders, where their illness can be heightened while physically isolating at home.

Additional funding of $2 million will help evaluate the impact of this investment and target any emerging mental health needs and services such as the Eating Disorders National Support line (1800 ED HOPE).

Increased mental health support has become essential and the Australian Government recognises the urgency for support to become readily available to all. It is important to check on your friends and family to make sure they are accessing the support provided.

The new measures build on previous support provided by the Federal Government, which includes ten additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions that can be accessed by Victorians facing further restrictions.

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Photo: Person in Black Pants and Black Shoes Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair by cottonbro available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.