The Andrews Labor Government has reaffirmed its commitment to fix Victoria’s mental health system, with new figures confirming the impact on our local community.

These figures, included in the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s interim report, highlight the acute strain placed on mental health services in the western region.

The interim report demonstrates the current impact on our system, with occupancy of public acute adult mental health beds at North Western Mental Health at 94 per cent. The recommended average is 85 per cent.

The Commission also highlighted the expected growth in mental health presentations.

Right now, per 100,000 people, North Western Mental Health has only 15.7 beds – a rate expected to decline by 12 per 100,000 by 2031 if no additional action is taken.

Our local providers are keenly aware of the pressures on Victoria’s mental health system.

And yet, the issue of mental health hasn’t been taken seriously enough, with mental illness costing Victoria $14.2 billion annually and costing our community in lives.

In handing down its interim report, the Royal Commission also provided key reforms that can be addressed immediately, including:

  • Establishing 135 new public acute mental health inpatient beds to address critical demand pressures, proportionally allocated to Barwon Health and Melbourne Health, in alliance with Northern Health and Western Health
  • Expanding culturally safe services for Aboriginal Victorians by establishing social and emotional wellbeing teams in ACCHOs across Victoria and funding scholarships for clinical mental health qualifications (teams will be located in metropolitan and regional areas across the state)

The Royal Commission is about building a coordinated, quality mental health system from the ground up – a system that will support Victorians and their families when they need it most.

The Commission will hold further public hearings later this year before delivering its final report in October.


Quotes attributable to Member for Altona District Jill Hennessy

“Whether we’ve experienced it ourselves or watched a loved one suffer – everyone in our community has felt the impact of mental health.”

“Locally, we’ve seen people left on waiting lists, when the last thing they can afford to do is wait.”

“It’s why we’re giving mental health the attention it deserves – building a proper system from the ground up. Make no mistake, this will save lives.”