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Local partnership to close mental health gaps

Friday, 01 July 2022

A NEW mental health consortium will bring local agencies together to bridge gaps that have impacted access to timely support in the Geelong community.

In response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, a partnership between Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, Wellways, ermha365 and Barwon Health will deliver the new Greater Geelong and Borough of Queenscliffe local mental health and wellbeing service.

This service will improve access and tailored delivery of mental health care for adults 26 and over in the Geelong region.

Launching by the end of 2022, it will deliver integrated wellbeing, mental health, alcohol and drugs services, providing a range of wellbeing supports, education, peer support, self-help opportunities and clinical treatment and therapies.

When fully implemented the service will deliver approximately 40,000 additional hours of wellbeing and clinical and services to our local community each year.

Additional funding over the next three years will total $29 million.

Barwon Health clinical director of Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services, Professor Steven Moylan: 

• The 4thought partnership model is underpinned by positivity, hope and inclusion.

• This is a great example of building something new from the ground up that will cater to a new way of doing things. People will be able to find the support they need, when they need it.

• People will be able to access services in the way that they prefer - our digital platforms and contact centre will be set up to warmly assist people to access information and support, before they are connected to a person with lived experience who can help guide them through every step of their care journey.

• Our organisations have long-standing reputations for collaborating with other healthcare providers and regional organisations to support consumer recovery outcomes. We will leverage these relationships to support earlier intervention and respond to the diverse needs of our community. 

• We will continuously evaluate, learn and improve this service, and will share our learnings with others as this key component of system reforms is rolled out across Victoria.

Wellways CEO Laura Collister:

• The support on offer will be what people tell us they need; everyone will be welcome.

• We know that there is a tonne of work that needs to take place if we are going to make our mental health system work for everyone – the Local Mental Health and Wellbeing Services are an important part of that.  

• We’re excited to be working together with clinical services and trusted community providers – to share our know-how and make sure that lived experience works is at the heart of this reform. If we want to change the system, we have to work together.

• This is what Wellways was set up to do – develop and deliver lived-experience-led support so people can live life to their full potential in the community of their choice.

• We know that when people remain connected to their community, recovery happens.

Ermha365 CEO Karenza Louis Smith:

• We have a great relationship with Barwon Health, already partnering to deliver programs in the region, and we are thrilled to be part of this exciting new service. 

• This consortium will deliver more mental health support for people in the Greater Geelong region in ways that work for their individual needs.