10 June 2022

Victorians will be able to continue to access immediate support from the 30 Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs across the state, thanks to a funding extension announced by the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino.

Opened in late 2021 to support Victorians through the challenges of the pandemic, the Hubs will continue to operate until they are replaced by a network of ‘Mental Health Local’ services. These will deliver on the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s recommendation that more than 50 local services are established to give Victorians easy access to care without having to navigate the system while they’re in crisis.

Mind Australia is the largest service provider of the Hubs, managing 13 of the 30 Hubs across Victoria. The Hubs have been highly successful, providing care to more than 1,600 people across the state in seven months.

“The Victorian government is to be commended for recognising the value of this service in providing the community with fast and flexible support,” Mind Australia CEO Gill Callister said. “Accessible community-based support like this can make all the difference in helping people address problems before they reach crisis point and hospitalisation.”

“This is a real win for us in the community,” the Service Manager of the Mind Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, Rebecca Matheson Omondi, said on ABC Radio. “These Hubs have removed a lot of the barriers to a very complex system so people can self-refer. There’s no eligibility criteria. They don’t need a referral from their GP; they can just basically ring up and be connected to a support worker.”

Ms Matheson Omondi said the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs have been part of the puzzle that’s been missing in the community.

“People have had to be really, really unwell before they can access mental health services, but people can come to our service for anything. They can sit down and have a cup of tea and a yarn about and talk about what’s going on at home and their social isolation. They can come to us for support to access a GP – they can come to us for a range of things. They don’t need to be deep in crisis before they reach out for support.”

The first six of the Mental Health Locals will open this year providing care and support for adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health challenges – including people with co-occurring alcohol and drug addiction treatment and care needs.

The first three new Local Services will open in the coming months in Benalla/Wangaratta/Mansfield, Latrobe City and Frankston, with the next three to open by the end of 2022 in Brimbank, Geelong/Queenscliff, and Whittlesea.

More information about Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs

To access free and immediate support from a Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub call 1300 375 330.