New HeadtoHelp Mental Health Support Now Available in Western Victoria

HeadtoHelp will be available for people in the western Victoria experiencing mental ill-health due to COVID-19 from tomorrow.

The HeadtoHelp service has been set up by Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) and the other five primary health networks in Victoria following $26.9million in funding from the Federal Government as part of its response to the current pandemic. The new service will open from Monday, 14 September.

To access HeadtoHelp, people can simply call 1800 595 212 to discuss their needs and concerns.

They will then be directed to a package of mental health services in their area that most appropriately meet their individual situation.

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) CEO Rowena Clift said HeadtoHelp support would be available to anyone of any age in the community with or without a GP mental health treatment plan. This includes people with conditions too complex for many current primary care services but who are not eligible for or are awaiting care from public community mental health services.

No appointments are required to access the service.

“Mental health issues don’t discriminate. Many people in our region may have never experienced mental ill-health before and are facing new challenges due to COVID-19,” Ms Clift said.

“We’ve quickly mobilised to set up the new 1800 595 212 phone number so people throughout our region can access a new telehealth service which will work alongside existing State and Federally funded mental health support services.

“HeadtoHelp is designed to offer a seamless service for guiding people in mental distress or feel they are unable to cope with the extra pressures brought on by the pandemic to the right support,” said Ms Clift.

HeadtoHelp also includes the establishment of an initial 15 mental health response clinical hubs in Victoria, located within existing health facilities. In western Victoria, these hubs are at Barwon Health North in Geelong and at Ballarat Community Health’s Sebastopol clinic.

Western Victoria PHN has worked closely with primary care services, hospitals, the Victorian Mental Health Pandemic Response Taskforce and the State and Federal Governments in identifying the sites for the first two clinics in our region.

The service will commence operations with foundational staffing. We will then work to scale up the resourcing in consultation with key stakeholders including – but not limited to – primary care providers, existing mental health providers, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, people with lived or living experience of mental ill-health, and emergency services.

Once fully established, the service will offer multidisciplinary teams of mental health workers, including psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and alcohol and drug workers to provide extra support during the pandemic.

For more details, download the FAQ fact sheets: