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Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing

New Amsterdam's Max Goodwin Photo: NBC

Arising from one of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing was legally established on 1 September 2022.

With the aim of providing treatment, care and support to adults, leading cutting-edge research and serving as the ‘engine room’ for reform across the mental health sector and its workforce, the purpose-built facility, to be located in metropolitan Melbourne, is the first of its kind in the nation.

Its aim is to:

  • bring together people with lived experience, innovative service delivery and cutting-edge mental health research
  • drive system transformation
  • improve outcomes for people who use the mental health and wellbeing system in Victoria.

‘The clue’s in the name’, says Terry Laidler, Chair of the Collaborative Centre’s Board. ‘Anything we do, we want to do collaboratively.’

True to his word, Laidler is ‘interested in listening to people’ and in a recent meeting with ANMF (Vic Branch) he listened to mental health nurse members and sought to answer their questions openly and frankly.

‘Maybe we can be the Max of the system!’

In particular, he emphasised that while a core principle of the Collaborative Centre is to situate people with lived experience at its heart, the experience of healthcare workers is equally important. System transformation cannot work, he said, without collaboration between all stakeholders.

A registered psychologist and former Chair of the Victorian Mental Health Reform Council, Laidler notes that the centre was somewhat inspired by the Victoria Comprehensive Cancer Centre, ‘with the idea that if you put good research together with good care, treatment and support, and make sure there is an interaction between the two, you might get a better outcome.’

While it is still very early days, Laidler suggests the centre’s approach might be like that of the character of Max in the medical series New Amsterdam. ‘His first question to everyone is: what can I do to help?’, Laidler says. ‘Maybe we can be the Max of the system!’