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VCOSS response to the Mental Health Royal Commission interim report

MEDIA STATEMENT

Below are some remarks regarding the contents of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental Health System interim report.

All comments are attributable to Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King:

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The strength of this Royal Commission was always that it would set a big, bold and long-term plan to fix our mental health system.

Today’s interim report gives us an early look at that plan, and lays out the first steps for a system that works.

We particularly welcome the Commission’s early focus on:

  1. Intensive in-home support to help people in their communities,
  2. Placing people at the forefront of how services are designed and delivered, and,
  3. The social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

The Commission has suggested a levy to pay for mental health.

Rebuilding a broken system will cost money.

We need significant and sustained investments.

A levy could be part of the solution.

The cost of inaction is much greater than the cost of action.

What price do we put on a life?

The key thing will be ensuring new investments flow directly to the low-income Victorians who need them most, and who are currently missing out.

As the Commission continues its hearings schedule and begins preparations for its final report, we look forward to more work and further recommendations, in terms of:

  1. Housing and homelessness—because if you don’t have a safe, secure and affordable place to call home then it’s so much harder to get help.

But our mental health services also need a massive funding boost, right now.

Especially those services based in communities, which exist to help people long before they reach crisis point.

That funding can’t be pushed-back until the end of the Commission.

While we act methodically, we must also act urgently.

We must help those we are failing today, as we build a better system for tomorrow.