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Media release
12/07/2024
Media release

Disability sector organisations raise the alarm on NDIS market failure

The disability services sector is calling on the NDIA and government to take urgent and immediate action to ensure services for people with disability continue
CEO update
11/07/2024
CEO update

CEO update: Survey shows reality of market failure, coordinated action planned

NDS is working with other groups on addressing a crisis in disability services as our survey shows more than 1000 providers set to exit the market.

Mental Health system reforms now in effect

Close up of two people holding hands in support

7/09/2023

What you need to know

  • Resources available outlining the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022.
  • The new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and the Independent Mental Health Advocacy opt-out process also come into effect 1 September.
  • Office of Public Advocate resource to support improved understanding of communication with people with disability regarding health decisions.
  • Announcement of nine additional Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals
  • Connecting Carers in their Community Small Grants Program now open

Important changes arising from the Victorian mental health system reforms have come into effect from 1 September. Providers are asked to share information and links with workers, people with disabilities and families or carers on these changes. Further Victorian Government information on the changes will be shared in coming weeks.

Victorian Mental Health system changes from 1 September 2023

Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022

Education and training resources to support the sector and community to understand the new Act are now available at Health Victoria including:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

From 1 September 2023, the work and functions of the Mental Health and Complaints Commissioner (MHCC) will transfer to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (MHWC).

The new Commission will take on the existing functions of the current Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, with new responsibilities for handling and responding to complaints.

Key changes include:

Complaints

A family member, carer, or supporter of someone with mental health challenges, will now be able to lodge a complaint in relation to their own experience. If a complaint has already been lodged with the Mental Health and Complaints Commissioner, and it is still open or active by 1 September 2023, the complaint will be automatically carried over to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission.

Mental Health Service Providers

The new Act contains stronger requirements for mental health services and decision-makers to comply with the principles of the new Act. If you believe that a service has not made reasonable efforts to uphold the principles, you can lodge a complaint.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission contact process

The phone number and address for the Commission will stay the same as the previous contact details:

Phone: 1800 246 054
Address: Level 26, 570 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000.

The website has changed to www.mhwc.vic.gov.au. Queries sent through the old MHCC website will be redirected to the new site automatically.

New Independent Mental Health Advocacy - opt-out information

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.

From September 1, 2023, IMHA will automatically be notified at key points to provide non-legal advocacy. To find out about these points, read their fact sheet about their new opt-out advocacy service.

For more information email imhacontact@imha.vic.gov.au or call the IMHA phone line on 1300 947 820 which is staffed by IMHA advocates 9:30am - 4:30pm seven days a week, excluding public holidays.

Healthy Discussions – Office of the Public Advocate (OPA)

A new resource from the OPA supports individuals with a disability to communicate their needs through educating health sector workers about communication with a person with a disability.

Healthy Discussions: Supporting people with disability to make and communicate health decisions, includes the voice of people with lived experience of disability. It provides health workers with practical communication and engagement skills, knowledge, and expertise to ensure practitioners are confident in supporting patients with disability to make informed decisions about their own health.

Providers are asked to share this resource with workers and health professionals engaged with their services to improve mental and physical health decision making processes for people with a disability.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals update

An additional nine Mental Health and Wellbeing Local Services will be established in: Dandenong, Shepparton, Melton, Mildura, Lilydale, Bendigo-Echuca, and Orbost-Bairnsdale.

Find out more about the Local Services, including the locations of the next 9 services.

During the establishment phase, there are existing services for anyone seeking mental health support available through Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, Partners in Wellbeing, Head to Health services.

NDS and the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) have received Victorian Government project funding to increase mental health and wellbeing services for people with a disability. The project will prioritise needs while identifying solutions that might reduce barriers to services and improve uptake across the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Local (MHWL) network. 

The project will be codesigned by people with lived experience of disability, carers, advocacy organisations for disability, and representatives from the disability and mental health sectors. Drawing on their insight, experience and knowledge, the project will look for ways to remove barriers and create solutions. It will focus on three regions where mental health and wellbeing locals were established in the first commissioning phase: Benalla–Wangaratta–Mansfield, Frankston, and Greater Geelong–Queenscliffe.

NDS is currently inviting representatives from disability providers who deliver services in one or more of the three regions to take part in a working group.

For more information, contact Deniz Akin.

Connecting Carers in their Community Small Grants Program 2023 – 2024

Community organisations can now apply for grants valued between $20,000 and $40,000 to fund projects that will support Victoria’s unpaid carers in their local communities through the ‘Connecting Carers in their Community’ grants program.

The program is intended to support all Victorian unpaid carers. This includes people who are caring for a person with a disability, chronic illness, mental health issue or illness or experiencing addiction.

Applications close on Thursday 15 September 2023 with all details available at Carers Vic.

New project to increase mental health services for people with a disability

NDS and the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) have commenced a funded project aiming to increase mental health and wellbeing services for people with a disability.

The project will identify top concerns while identifying solutions that might reduce barriers to services and improve uptake across the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Local (MHWL) network.

The project will be codesigned by people with lived experience of disability, carers, advocacy organisations for disability, and representatives from the disability and mental health sectors. Drawing on their insight, experience and knowledge, the project will look for ways to remove barriers and create solutions.

It will focus on three regions where mental health and wellbeing locals were established in the first commissioning phase: Benalla–Wangaratta–Mansfield, Frankston, and Greater Geelong–Queenscliff.

Representatives from disability providers who deliver services in one or more of the three regions are invited to participate.

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Deniz Akin, Senior Policy and Project Officer, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number