New legislation a crucial step forward for mental health in Victoria

21 June 2022
 
 
 

The peak body for psychiatrists has welcomed the introduction of the Victorian Government’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill 2022, saying the Bill, introduced in Parliament today, marks a significant transformation in Victorian mental health legislation. 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Chair, Dr Astha Tomar, said the proposed legislation, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, is a welcome step in the right direction when it comes to addressing mental health and wellbeing in the state. However Dr Tomar said much still needs to be done in order to ensure new legislation doesn’t suffer from the same issues as previous mental health Acts.

“If passed, this legislation marks a significant transformation of Victorian mental health legislation,” Dr Tomar said.

“While we’re looking forward to seeing this enacted, there’s a lot that needs to happen at the frontline of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system before the new legislation can be properly enacted.

Dr Tomar identified it as critical that any new legislation supports Victorian consumers and carers to make informed decisions in relation to illness and treatment throughout their journey.

The RANZCP Victorian Branch is also hopeful for clear government and service accountability for ensuring those caring for people at the frontline of the Victorian mental health and wellbeing system have all resources required to enable delivery of safe and effective treatment, care, and support.

Dr Tomar said, the Victorian Government’s consultation with the RANZCP Victorian Branch on this important piece of legislation ensured it includes input from experts on the frontline of care delivery.

“Psychiatrists are at the frontline of clinical treatment, care, and support; and critical in the delivery of many of the functions, working together with other members of the mental health and wellbeing workforce. Our understanding of how this legislation will impact the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians, including some of the most vulnerable, rises from decades of experience of what can and can’t work in practice.

“The RANZCP Victorian Branch have welcomed the opportunity to support the draft legislation, and we look forward to working with the Victorian Government on the implementation on the new legislation, once it is passed. This legislation has the opportunity to ensure the people of Victoria can access the mental health and wellbeing system they deserve, wherever they live.”

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For media enquiries or to arrange an interview contact 0437 315 911.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.