Harnessing collective resources and capacity to improve health and wellbeing in eastern and north-eastern Melbourne

A new plan to improve mental health, alcohol and other drug, and suicide prevention service integration across eastern and north-eastern Melbourne, was launched today to address the health and wellbeing of 1.5 million people living in the community.

Under the theme of ‘connecting people’, The Regional Integrated Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs, and Suicide Prevention Plan 2019-2024 (the Plan) aims integrate these types of services, drive service development to address gaps and deliver on 10 areas of focus.

State Member for Kew, Tim Smith MP, said the Plan builds on the work that currently exists in the region, including the interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system.

National Mental Health Commission Chair, Lucy Brogden AM, said the Plan leverages the specific knowledge, expertise and experience of stakeholders, including consumers and carers, to drive sector reform, improve outcomes, and guide future planning and investment.

Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) Interim CEO, Geoff Lavender, said the Plan is underpinned by collaboration and partnerships, and provides the blueprint for a whole-of-system approach for the future of mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention services.

Eastern Health Program Director Mental Health, Lisa Shaw-Stuart, said the plan is the first step as part of a long-term commitment to achieve better health outcomes for individuals, families, carers and communities.

Lynda Watts spoke from a carer lived experience perspective at the launch and said the plan recognises the role consumers and carers play in overseeing improvements in how services respond and systems work.

The development of The Plan, an agreed action of both the Commonwealth and State governments linked to the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, has involved significant engagement, of stakeholders across the region during the past 18 months.

EMPHN has facilitated the development of the Plan in consultation with stakeholders including state, federal and local government; hospitals; community health services; schools; allied health and primary care providers; and people with lived experience.

The Plan identifies 10 areas of focus, each with specific goals and actions:

1. Improving outcomes for young people

2. Improving pathways of care for people with alcohol and other drug issues

3. Better meeting the needs of people with severe mental illness with complex needs

4. Improving physical health outcomes for people with severe mental illness

5. Enhancing our mental health response for older people

6. Suicide prevention

7. Improving the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

8. Increasing support for general practice

9. The role of quality and safety and clinical governance in complex integrated care

10. Information management and data sharing

See the plan here

Media enquiries: Claire James claire.james@emphn.org.au 0425 887 397