CEO Primary Matters – 26 August 2020

Two New Mental Health Hubs for western Victoria

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced funding of $26.9 million for Victorian Primary Health Networks to establish 15 mental health hubs across the state, with nine hubs in Greater Melbourne and six hubs in regional Victoria.

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) welcomes the news that two new mental health hubs will be set up in our region as part of the Federal Government’s commitment to help those struggling in our community.

We are working closely with primary care services, health services, the Victorian Mental Health Taskforce, the Victorian Government and Federal Government to identify the most suitable locations for the hubs.

This is in response to the concerning increase in mental health issues facing many in our community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All six Victorian PHNs have committed to a combined approach to get these hubs up and running as soon as possible. A project management office with four separate teams reporting to the Victorian PHN CEOs has been assembled to plan and develop this crucial work.

There are two key elements to the package:

  • A top up of our flexible mental health funding (not including youth funding) so that we can increase service capacity; and,
  • Establishment of the 15 mental health hubs staffed by multi-disciplinary teams.

Tackling the suicide rate of western Victoria

The suicide rate in our communities continues to be of great concern.  It touches many families and makes an impact across all aged groups and gender. It can be a difficult space to navigate as a primary care provider.  But through government support and through the collaboration of service providers we are developing and launching a number of initiatives.  These are the Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial, Great South Coast Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial and the Geelong Suicide Prevention Initiative.

The Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial officially launched last Friday, will commence the delivery of a number of complementary activities by local health organisations and community groups to help those suffering from suicidal thoughts or those who have lived experience of suicide or bereavement.

I would like to thank all involved for their contributions to these great initiatives, especially the Commonwealth Department of Health, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, the Leadership Groups, service providers and community groups who have all united to help save lives in the most collaborative way possible.

We now look forward to launching the Great South Coast Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial this coming Friday (28 August) and to spreading the word about this Trial and its activities across the south west of Victoria.

Health practitioners should be sure to access the Western Victoria HealthPathways Mental Health pages as their central source of clinical and referral information.

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency or use any of the crisis helplines:

Stay safe and look out for one another.


Rowena Clift

Chief Executive Officer

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