New mental health jobs critical to Victoria’s recovery

November 11, 2020

The $235 million announced today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino will help strengthen the sector’s capacity and address chronic workforce shortages with the creation of new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection.

In addition to creating 500 new jobs as part of the Recovery Workforce, the much-needed funding will support accelerated training pathways and internships for around 875 people, growing the pipeline of workers so Victorians have access to the support they need.

Chief Executive of the VHA, Tom Symondson, says the announcement recognises the value of the mental health and associated workforces who have worked tirelessly to address the needs of the community through this challenging time.

‘This timely investment coincides with a critical moment for the sector and will be instrumental in helping mental health services recover and ramp-up service delivery to address the surge in demand expected from deferred or cancelled treatment due to the pandemic,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘The combination of natural disasters and a global pandemic has emerged as an opportunity to rethink our mental health system. Looking beyond recovery towards reform, this funding will enable the sector to build the capacity and workforce required to support Victorians with mental health conditions to live full lives.’

The funding will also support new child and youth psychiatry registrars and new part-time positions and cadetships for people with a lived experience of mental health. This was an interim recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and one we and our members strongly support.

The funding also supports the employment of more mental health nurse graduates, meaning more workers on the ground caring for Victorians, and additional support for carers to access new support pathways into employment in the community services, disability and aged care sectors.

Victorians awaiting access to residential AOD services, or those who disengaged during the pandemic, will receive support with $25.62 million to employ new specialist alcohol and other drug workers.

The VHA also welcomed the $40 million investment to boost services and ensure Aboriginal communities have access to the services they need to recover from the pandemic.

‘The welcome investment in Aboriginal healthcare is a positive step towards a targeted population health approach and reduction of health disparities,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘We hope to see continued targeted investment and tailored support for other key at-risk groups including children and young people, LGBTQI+ Victorians and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.’

Many of these investments reinforce the vital role community health organisations play in the prevention and early intervention of mental health conditions and delivery of mental health services.

The funding follows a significant amount of investment in mental health throughout the pandemic and complements the work underway across the sector to reform mental health service delivery.