The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the 2022–23 Victorian State Budget’s $1.3 billion of investment announced for new mental health initiatives which prioritises building workforce capacity.
Chair of the Victorian Branch, Dr Astha Tomar, said the $372 million committed to implementing and resourcing a stable and well-resourced workforce will be key to the success of the Government’s ambitious reform agenda of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
‘We have worked closely with the government through this reform process and are pleased to see a clear commitment to the clinical workforce, especially the hiring of an additional 1500 mental health workers to the whole sector, including 100 psychiatry positions’, said Dr Tomar.
‘Shoring up a psychiatry workforce pipeline into the future, with sufficient entry level and specialist training positions as well as support for state-wide coordination, is crucial to ensuring ongoing community access to specialist mental health and wellbeing care.’
The RANZCP emphasised that the new investment affirmed the importance of the Victorian community’s access to timely and current specialist mental health and wellbeing workforce.
The Branch is hopeful that the investment will also support distribution data to identify contributions, gaps and retention strategies for the existing workforce, including psychiatrists, across the public mental health system in Victoria.
Dr Tomar further welcomed expansion of investment for wellbeing supports for the frontline workforce.
‘The health and wellbeing of our frontline workforce is of paramount importance. Amidst a global pandemic and significant reform of the system, psychiatrists in Victoria are concerned about mental health impacts facing health care workers and emergency services.
‘We also commend the $29.3 million announced to support the implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 which will include sector training to deliver innovative new models of care and bolster health literacy.
‘The successful implementation of these and other initiatives will require working collaboratively with the mental health and wellbeing workforce including those with lived experience.’
The RANZCP commends the investment of $196 million to deliver 15 more acute beds in Shepparton and acquire land and plan for a further 49 beds in Ballarat and Wangaratta.
‘We know regional and rural communities experience greater mental health mortality and morbidity and are more vulnerable to mental health problems, and yet mental health services and supports are disproportionately concentrated in metropolitan areas.
‘The provision of more acute-level care and services for the regions will mean people able to access the treatment they need surrounded by their support networks and loved ones’, said Dr Tomar.
Other mental health commitments included:
- $41.4 million for sustaining student mental health services
- $21 million package to support suicide prevention initiatives
- $20 million in tailored support and service uplift for eating disorders
- $12 million in support for families whose infants or children and young people are accessing acute care in regional Victoria
- $10 million for emergency department hubs for regional Victorians experiencing serious mental health and alcohol and drug issues.
ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call RANZCP Media on +0437 315 911, or email email@example.com.
For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.
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.
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.