Geelong’s New Head to Health Mental Health Support Service Provider Announced

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) has announced highly regarded mental health and well-being support provider, Neami, will operate Victoria’s first Commonwealth-funded adult mental health centre, to be located in Geelong.

WVPHN CEO, Rowena Clift, said the new centre, which would operate under the name of Head to Health, would be a significant addition to Geelong’s mental health support sector, providing a welcoming environment for people who may be experiencing distress or crisis.

“The centre will provide an entry point for adults and their families to access information and services for supporting their psychological, physical, social and emotional health and well-being,” Ms Clift said.

“It will also offer a central point for connecting and referring people to other local services to ensure support is tailored to individual needs,” she said.

“I am delighted that WVPHN has been able to appoint Neami to deliver the new Head to Health service that I am sure will become a model for other mental support services throughout Victoria,” said Ms Clift.

The centre will be one of eight adult mental health centres in Australia, funded by the Commonwealth Government. The model for the adult mental health centres was developed by a national expert advisory group. WVPHN has worked with the local community to refine this design to meet specific local needs.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, said: “We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians. This is why the Government continues to make mental health support national priority.”

“The Head to Health centre in Geelong will be among the first in a network of community mental health centres that will ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, person-centered care. This network is being expanded by 32 sites through a further $487.2 million investment that formed part of the record $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan announced in the 2021-22 Budget.”

“I’m delighted that this service will be open soon for the people of Geelong and will help support and guide the creation of new services across the country.”

Neami National CEO, Tom Dalton said they were excited to be working with the PHN and with their partners Drummond Street, to deliver a new safe, welcoming and inclusive mental health support service for the Geelong community.

“Co-designed with people with a lived experience of recovery, carers and family, First Nations people, mental health professionals, support services and first-responders, we are ensuring that the service responds to and delivers what the community needs,” Mr Dalton said.

“Many of Geelong’s Head to Health staff will be in dedicated lived experience roles, providing unique and caring support from arrival to when someone is ready to leave. Building upon Neami National’s long history of continuity of support across the clinical and community-based spectrum, the service will integrate with existing formal and informal supports and, if needed, connect with the right support for later,” he said.

The centre will have a permanent location in Geelong’s northern suburbs. Neami is in the process of finalising suitable premises