Local pop-up mental health services

Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing.

Michelle Slater

Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing. file photograph

Latrobe Regional Hospital will host one of 20 pop-up community mental health services being delivered across the state to provide wellbeing checks and counselling in the pandemic.

These pop-ups will provide services in the Latrobe City, Baw Baw, Bass Coast, East Gippsland, South Gippsland, and Wellington local government areas.

The services will be delivered by community-managed mental health provider Mind Australia and will open progressively from the end of September.

The state government is spending $13.3 million on these pop-up services to fund about 90 dedicated clinicians as the Delta outbreak continues.

A dedicated triage and referral hotline and website is also binge established so people can start booking appointments.

Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said locally accessible mental health care was a key part of carrying out the recommendations made by the Mental Health Royal Commission.

“It’s so important as we fix our broken mental health system, that we also support those who are struggling because of the pandemic,” Ms Shing said.

“And this is where community focused, locally operated, accessible supports will be key – not just for the Latrobe Valley, but for Gippsland as a whole.”

The support will help to reduce the burden on emergency departments already under great pressure from the pandemic.

It will provide more effective, efficient and personalised support for people struggling with their mental health.

These pop up services will be supplemented with a range of dedicated supports for specific groups who may be at higher risk of isolation or mental health concerns as a result of the pandemic.

Mind chief executive officer Gill Callister thanked the state government for embracing recommendations for more local, accessible and equitable mental health and wellbeing services in the community.

“The range of services announced today will make a big contribution to helping Victorians with the stressors the pandemic is causing in the community,” Ms Callister said.

“From unemployment, isolation and extended home-schooling for young people – the pressures of lockdown are creating a variety of mental health problems that are best treated in a community setting.”