Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System
The Royal Commission was established in February 2019 by the Victorian Government to review the system’s failures to support people living with mental illness or psychological distress, as well as their families, carers and supporters (including professionals within the Victorian mental health system).
Through our service delivery, The Salvation Army has firsthand experience of the links between social disadvantage and mental health. Our submission to the Royal Commission highlights the need for greater integration of mental health and community services in Victoria, better training and awareness for government and community staff about mental health conditions and a greater focus on early intervention to help people before they reach crisis.
Throughout this submission, The Salvation Army references a number of critical documents relevant to the work of the Royal Commission, including Victoria’s 10-year Mental Health Plan (launched in November 2015 with the objective to guide investment in the sector and drive better mental health outcomes for Victorians) and the Victorian Auditor-General’s report Access to Mental Health Services.
Our submission to the Royal Commission also recommends that the design of any future reforms to the Victorian mental health system must give critical consideration to the lived experience of people experiencing mental health concerns. Similarly, we highlight the need to implement strategies aimed at meeting the increasing demand for mental health services that address issues linked to social disadvantage.
The Royal Commission’s final report was published in March 2021 and includes 65 recommendations, in addition to nine interim report recommendations. The report sets out a 10-year vision for a future mental health system where people can access treatment close to their homes and in their communities.
The Victorian Government has committed to implementing all recommendations made by the Royal Commission, including: a responsive and integrated system with community at its heart; a system attuned to promoting inclusion and addressing inequalities; re-established public confidence through prioritisation and collaboration; and, contemporary and adaptable services.
The Salvation Army commends the work undertaken by the Royal Commission. We look forward to the implementation of the recommendations by the Victorian Government and continue our commitment to support those who are experiencing mental health concerns in Victoria and across Australia.