The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has welcomed the Andrews Government announcement to hold a Royal Commission into mental health if re-elected.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: ‘Too many people fall through the cracks in the current system and it can cost them a meaningful and safe future. It can cost them their life. It can tragically change families and communities forever.’
A forensic examination to identify the micro and big picture issues in regional and metropolitan Victoria is the next step after four years of significant catch-up investment in mental health services.
A piecemeal approach and more funding is not enough to fix mental health services or help the people and families who need them.
‘We’re removing the stigma around talking about mental illness and seeking help, this is another positive step to maintain the momentum by making sure that when people go looking for support, they get it,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘A Royal Commission will reveal the gaps, what we are doing well, what we need to improve and where we have failed so we can build preventative, community, rehabilitation and acute and crisis services that intersect with each other and provide care when and where it’s needed,’ she said.
‘It will also need to look at continuing to build workforce capacity and supporting and expanding evidence-based models of care such as the previous commonwealth-funded, but now almost defunct Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) which provided care to thousands of people living in the community.
Not all preventative and recovery programs will be clinical, for example Men’s Shed or youth re-engagement programs, but there need to be well-understood pathways.
‘We expect the findings may be similar to the Royal Commission into family violence which found services were disconnected and lacking coordination,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘The recommendations will require partnership between federal and state governments who share responsibility for mental health services.
‘The ANMF and its members look forward to contributing to the essential and enormous work that the Royal Commission will undertake.’
Media inquiries: Robyn Asbury 0417 523 252