Multi-million dollar funding package to support Victoria’s new Mental Health Act

Multi-million dollar funding package to support Victoria’s new Mental Health Act

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New Mental Health Act places individuals at centre of decision-making $36 million investment in implementing new Act, along with $16 million in annual funding, Victorian Coalition Government building a stronger mental health system.

The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $36 million to ensure the successful implementation of a new Mental Health Act, Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge announced today.
Ms Wooldridge said that the new Act, which today passed through the Victorian Parliament, will put people with mental illness and their families at the centre of decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery.
“The new Mental Health Act is a cornerstone of our mental health reform agenda and will ensure that patients and their families are at the centre of decision-making on treatment, care and recovery,” Ms Wooldridge said.

The $36 million investment from the Coalition Government includes:

$13.5 million to prepare health services and workforces for new
legislative, practice and operational requirements;

$4.4 million to establish the Mental Health Tribunal and $3.8 million to establish the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner;
$12.2 million in overall project investment to develop a implement reform policy initiatives, upgrade IT infrastructure; and
$2.6 million to embed and sustain service quality improvement,
innovation and cultural change throughout the service system.
Ms Wooldridge said that the Coalition Government will provide $20.7 million ongoing funding from the 2014-15 financial year to support a stronger mental health system by ensuring that the principles and requirements of the new Mental Health Act are met.

“This funding will support people with mental illness and their families to actively participate in decisions related to their care,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“We are investing $1 million per year for compulsory patients to access a second psychiatric opinion regarding their treatment, which could either be provided by a psychiatrist in a public mental health service or by a psychiatrist working in private practice.

“We are also putting $2.1 million towards a consumer advocacy program to support individuals undergoing compulsory treatment to understand and exercise their rights, discuss any concerns about their treatment and support them to find solutions and make decisions.”

Ms Wooldridge said that the new Act will enhance independent oversight of mental health services and increase safeguards to protect the rights and dignity of people living with mental illness through the establishment of the Mental Health Tribunal and Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.

“The Coalition Government will invest $7.5 million per annum to fund the Mental Health Tribunal to review compulsory treatment to ensure that we are upholding people’s rights as they progress on their recovery journey,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“An independent and specialised Mental Health Complaints Commissioner will receive recurrent funding of $2.44 million to ensure complaints regarding public mental health services are addressed and resolved in a timely and responsive manner.

“And $1.7 million will fund the Chief Psychiatrist to provide clinical leadership and support ongoing quality and safety improvements in the mental health system.”

Ms Wooldridge said the Coalition Government has also provided ongoing funding to support health services and mental health workers to implement supported decision making.

“From next financial year, health services will receive indexed recurrent funding of $5.8 million to meet statutory requirements under the new Act.
This investment will fund additional staff time to implement supported decision making and prepare for Tribunal hearings,” Ms Wooldridge said.

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