Delivering the Mental Health Support Ballarat Deserves

Today, Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison and Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle welcomed the announcement that Victorians will get the mental health support and care they need, with the Andrews Labor Government to provide additional funding as demand for services increases during current restrictions.

Though they’re important and necessary, these temporary measures can affect the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians, including children and young people – which is why the Government will provide $9.57 million to meet increased demand.

We know that phone helplines and digital connections are important to ensure diverse communities can access mental health support services – so community channels established during 2020 will receive a $3.1 million boost to help maintain current services and develop new initiatives to support and treat vulnerable Victorians.

This funding will include a $120,000 boost to Lifeline Ballarat, which provides essential crisis mental health and wellbeing support to the Grampians region.

We’re also investing $2.24 million to urgently deliver surge teams of clinicians in each of Victoria’s 13 specialist Child and Youth Mental Health Services, each of which will work with their local headspace centres to address significant waiting lists. And in acknowledgement that headspace centres are a Commonwealth-run service, we’ll ask the Federal Government to immediately match this funding until the end of 2021.

The number and severity of eating disorder presentations have also increased during the pandemic. The Government announced additional support in January, and will provide a further $1.5 million to support six metropolitan health services to continue and expand integrated care to persons with eating disorders.

In addition, the Government will invest $1 million for Beyond Blue, $1.2 million for Lifeline and $500,000 for Eating Disorders Victoria helpline to make sure all Victorians can access the timely and appropriate mental health care they need.

Work to rebuild Victoria’s mental health system is underway. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested $3.8 billion to transform the way mental health and wellbeing services are delivered in Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino

“The current restrictions are in place to protect every Victorian – but we know this is a tough time and many are struggling with their mental health.”

“This is about delivering the mental health support Victorians need right now, as well as into the future as we recover from the pandemic.”

Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“Mental Health affects us all, and it’s important to know that help is out there. These investments will go a long way towards ensuring our community gets the support they need, when they need it.”

Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Lifeline Ballarat does an amazing job of being there when people need it most and I’m glad we’ve stepped in to help them keep saving lives with a $120,000 grant.”

Quote attributable to Lifeline Ballarat Centre Manager Emily Nester

“Over the past 12 to 18 months, we’ve received an unprecedented number of calls to our 13 11 14 helpline, so this funding will go a long way towards helping us continue to provide people in crisis with the support they need. It will also allow us to deliver more training to the local community to develop skills, confidence and resilience in addressing the challenges of mental health issues, suicide awareness and prevention.”

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