Victorian providers prepare for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act and other initiatives
What you need to know
- Changes in the 2022 Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, which becomes effective from 1 September in Victoria, include new responsibilities for mental health and wellbeing services providers in how they deliver assessment, treatment, care and support.
- The Act also sets up a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and we explain its responsibilities.
- Extensions to the Mental Health Care for Homelessness Program improve participants’ access to clinical intervention and recovery-oriented programs.
- We also run through resources for people with psychosocial or mental health needs, including advocacy resources.
- The NDIS are holding workshops on psychosocial disability for workers and participants.
NDS welcomes a range of legislative and funding initiatives designed to improve Victoria's mental health system. NDS is engaged with mental health and wellbeing services to build the capability of workers in the system, including workers supporting people with psychosocial disability in the NDIS.
Positive legislative changes within the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 come into effect on 1 September and providers and workers in mental health and wellbeing services will be affected. Changes in the Act, including more person-centred service provision, better information-sharing, and Commission oversight, will improve support for people receiving mental health services.
The Act reflects changes in treatment and understanding of mental health in Victoria, including a new framework for supported decision-making and recovery-oriented practice. The Act establishes the necessary powers to ensure that new entities and existing stakeholders can operate effectively within this framework.
The revised Act contains:
- the lived experience of people with mental health conditions being at the centre of all related systems
- new measures to promote supported decision making and the autonomy of people living with mental illness, including revisions to advance statements of preference (formerly called an advance statement)
- the establishment of new information-sharing obligations through a new electronic health information system for admission, discharge and care coordination between emergency and mental health and wellbeing services
- new obligations for mental health and wellbeing service providers and key stakeholders interacting with these services on information disclosure and consent, with an emphasis on involving consumers, families, carers and supporters
- new provisions to establish a health led response to mental health crises to ensure health professionals use least restrictive practices
- the increased capacity of health professionals to respond to mental health crises in the community, including transfer of care and control between authorized persons and discharge
- new cultural safety principles for Aboriginal social and emotional well-being services
- the establishment of the Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing, regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards, state-wide and regional Multiagency Panels and the Mental Health Workforce Safety and Wellbeing Committee
- new provisions for the Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Victoria.
The Victorian Department of Health is developing information, guidance and training about the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 . NDS has been involved in the associated reviews. The resources will explain new responsibilities under the Act and key changes from the 2014 legislation. NDS will share these resources, guidelines and protocols with the disability sector as soon as they are available.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
The Act establishes Victoria’s new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission.
The Commission, an independent statutory authority, commences on 1 September. It will play a key role in system-wide oversight of quality and safety and monitor how the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System are applied.
Commissioners will include people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress or as a family member, carer or supporter.
The new Commission will incorporate the complaints function of the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner and have broader powers, including an own motion investigation power.
The new Act will:
- allow complaints from families, carers, advocates, mental health workers and supporters about their experiences in these roles
- align processes and powers with those available to the Health Complaints Commissioners under the Victorian Health Complaints Act 2016
- allow for complaints about a failure to comply with obligations in relation to principles.
Advocacy and resources for people with a psychosocial disability
The Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) is a state-wide service for people receiving — or at risk of receiving — compulsory treatment under Victoria's Mental Health Act 2014. IMHA supports these people to have as much say as possible about their assessment, treatment and recovery. They also give information on how to make a complaint about their experience — or, with consent, someone else’s experience — of a mental health service.
IMHA have also released a NDIS Mental Health Toolkit with information and worksheets to help people with experience of the mental health system — whether they are applying for the NDIS or have already been accepted — to know their rights, communicate effectively and advocate for their needs. It can also be used by carers, family, friends, community members and support workers.
Mental health care for homelessness program extended
As housing and food security concerns increase across the community, the Victorian Government has announced grants of almost $10 million to ensure that homeless Victorians can get the support and mental health care they need. Four organisations will receive funds over the next four years through the Social Inclusion Mental Health Support Services program.
The four organisations getting the funding boost are St Mary’s House of Welcome, Uniting Vic.Tas, Jesuit Social Services Connexions, and cohealth in partnership with the Inner West Area Mental Health Service and Launch Housing.
Disability providers are asked to share information about the services to all their workers and support referrals for those with homelessness and mental health concerns.
Understanding Psychosocial Disability (NDIS access and supports)
The NDIA invites disability workers, allied health professionals, people with a psychosocial disability and their family or carers to an online information session about psychosocial disability. The session will cover eligibility, applying for access to the NDIS, Psychosocial Recovery Coach and Support Coordination models.
Disability workers can register to improve their own knowledge and share the information about the sessions with people with disabilities.
Information will be delivered online with five choices for date and time. All sessions will include the same content. Please request only your favoured option only when you register.
Visit Eventbrite to register for a session below:
- Thursday 20 July at 9:00am AEST
- Tuesday 22 August at 1:00pm AEST
- Tuesday 19 September at 5:00pm AEST
- Thursday 26 October at 6:00pm AEST
- Tuesday, 28 November at 2:00pm AEST
For all enquiries about this session, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and include the session name in the subject line.