Today Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing welcomed the announcement that the Andrews Labor Government will provide additional funding to support state mental health services as demand for services increases during current restrictions.

Though they’re important and necessary, these temporary measures can affect the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians, including children and young people – which is why the Government will provide $9.57 million to meet increased demand.

We know that phone helplines and digital connections are important to ensure diverse communities can access mental health support services – so community channels established during 2020 will receive a $3.1 million boost to help maintain current services and develop new initiatives to support and treat vulnerable Victorians.

This funding will include an $106,895 boost to Lifeline Gippsland, which provides essential crisis mental health and wellbeing support to Morwell and the Gippsland region.

We’re also investing $2.24 million to urgently deliver surge teams of clinicians in each of Victoria’s 13 specialist Child and Youth Mental Health Services, each of which will work with their local headspace centres to address significant waiting lists. And in acknowledgement that headspace centres are a Commonwealth-run service, we’ll ask the Federal Government to immediately match this funding until the end of 2021.

The number and severity of eating disorder presentations have also increased during the pandemic. The Government announced additional support in January and will provide a further $1.5 million to support six metropolitan health services to continue and expand integrated care to persons with eating disorders.

In addition, the Government will invest $1 million for Beyond Blue, $1.2 million for Lifeline and $500,000 for Eating Disorders Victoria helpline to make sure all Victorians can access the timely and appropriate mental health care they need.

Work to rebuild Victoria’s mental health system is underway. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested $3.8 billion to transform the way mental health and wellbeing services are delivered in Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino

“The current restrictions are in place to protect every Victorian – but we know this is a tough time and many are struggling with their mental health.”

“This is about delivering the mental health support Victorians need right now, as well as into the future as we recover from the pandemic.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Youth Ros Spence

“These investments will go a long way towards ensuring young people get the support they need, when they need it.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“This funding shows the Andrews’ Government’s continued commitment towards improving mental health services across this state.”

“Mental Health services like Lifeline Gippsland do incredibly important work in our communities, and this investment will allow them to continue to support those in need.”