Olivia lives with the rare Kleefstra Syndrome.

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Victoria’s 10-year Mental Health Strategy: a valuable opportunity

Poor mental health is affected by, and contributes to poverty, disadvantage and social exclusion. Responsibility for laying the foundations for good mental health and supporting people with mental illness lies with many different systems that need to work together so that everyone can maximise their opportunities in life.

VCOSS provided a submission to the Victorian Government on the Victoria’s next 10-year mental health strategy discussion paper. Overall VCOSS welcomes the discussion paper’s commitment to building healthy and resilient communities, and the recognition of social inclusion and economic participation as building blocks of positive social and emotional wellbeing.

The 10-year strategy provides a valuable opportunity for Government to take a leading role in addressing the social determinants of mental health and wellbeing, including stable housing, economic stability and social inclusion.

It is important that the 10-year strategy identify shared goals and outcomes that do not focus exclusively on the mental health service system. It should examine the role of other sectors and systems in addressing the social determinants, building resilient communities and laying the foundations for good mental health.

VCOSS recommends the 10-year strategy must be more than a set of aspirational statements, and should include binding and measurable targets. It requires robust and comprehensive reporting, that focuses not only on the performance of the system, but also the mental health and wellbeing of the broader Victorian community.

Given the significant changes that will occur with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the accompanying move to a market-based system, the strategy needs to recognise that consumers, carers and families and service providers are facing a period of significant change, which will change the way services are delivered. VCOSS recommends the 10-year strategy articulate a vision for the mental health system that includes the components that would form a comprehensive, integrated system, and recognises the vital role of community managed mental health support services.

The VCOSS submission also provides recommendations related to several of the technical papers that accompanied the 10-year strategy discussion paper in areas including:

  • Housing and homelessness
  • Mental health and wellbeing of children
  • Mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25
  • Forensic mental health / the justice system
  • Trauma and mental health
  • Alcohol and other drugs / dual diagnosis.