Mental health services shake-up

Professor Patrick McGorry. picture supplied

Tara Murray

Mental health services in Melbourne’s north-west are set for a shake-up under recommendations from the state government’s Royal Commission into mental health.

The Royal Commission report contains 65 recommendations that establish a blueprint to transform mental health support and care to make it accessible, flexible and responsive.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the government would implement every recommendation.

Orygen executive director Professor Patrick McGorry said the recommendations would see changes to mental health services for youths and adults.

“I’ve never seen a premier so committed to mental health,” he said.

“To see the premier and opposition leader admitting that they messed it up… over the last 20 years… they now have a blueprint on how to fix it.”

Professor McGorry said services will be more local and better resourced, while the new regional centres flagged in the report, would make providers more accountable.

Orygen, which is Australia’s centre of excellence in youth mental health, runs a number of services across Melbourne’s north-west, including headspace at Sunshine.

Under the changes, Orygen’s clinical services that were previously overseen by Melbourne Health, will be overseen by the centre of excellence.

Governance of adult mental health services in the north-west will also change.

Currently Melbourne Health delivers public specialist mental health services to people living in northern and western metropolitan Melbourne, including at Western Health.

Under the changes, Western Health will oversee adult mental health services in the area.

In a statement, a Western Health spokesperson said they welcome the opportunity to enhance support services for mental health patients.

“One of the key findings for Western Health is the recommendation that Western Health manage mental health services across our population. This will require changes to current arrangements and further detail will be provided once we’ve had the opportunity to fully review the commissioner’s report.”

Professor McGorry said the recommendations and changes being put in place could see Melbourne’s north-west as a leader not only in Australia, but in the world, in tackling mental health.