Victorians will have access to additional mental health and wellbeing support through 15 new dedicated HeadtoHelp hubs.
Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network is partnering with local services to deliver hubs in:
- Hawthorn – Access Health and Community lead agency in partnership with Carrington Health and Link Health and Community
- West Heidelberg – Banyule Community Health lead agency in partnership with Health Ability and Nexus Primary Health
- Yarra Junction – Access Health and Community lead agency in partnership with Inspiro, Oonah and Carrington Health
As services scale-up, spokes will operate from Box Hill, Boronia and Wallan too.
Anyone concerned about their mental health can:
- Call HeadtoHelp on 1800 595 212 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm) to talk to a health professional or connect to a service.
- The hubs are COVID safe, so before visiting call first to talk to a hub team member.
Janine Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network said the HeadtoHelp hubs provide clinical advice, referral and wraparound care for Victorians struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They are needs-based and recovery-focused, supporting people in mental health distress by providing access to multidisciplinary teams of mental health workers, including psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and alcohol and drug workers.
“The hubs will also connect to other services in their region, including intensive mental health care or social supports, to ensure people get the help they need when they need it,” she said.
The rapid establishment of the hubs has been overseen by a joint federal and state Mental Health Pandemic Response Taskforce co-chaired by Dr Ruth Vine, the Australian Government Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health, and Pam Anders, CEO Mental Health Reform Victoria.
Dr Ruth Vine commended the combined efforts of everyone involved and stressed the importance of working quickly and closely with the Victorian Government and Victorian Department to ensure the implementation of the hubs are aligned with some of the expanded services currently funded by the Victorian Government.
“Victoria has experienced, I think, more impact on their day to day lives than other states and even more so for most Melburnians.
“Working with the Primary Health Networks; them working very closely with their own regions, to find a place that could host these clinics, but also that they were in the areas of greatest need. I have to say I think we have done remarkably well, and I thank and praise the PHNs for their tremendous work in getting this going so quickly,”, Dr Ruth Vine said.
Matt Jones, chair of the Victorian Tasmanian Primary Health Network Alliance (VTPHNA) paid tribute to the work of the state's six PHNs, which formed collaborative teams of clinical, data, finance and communications specialists to establish the HeadtoHelp hubs in less than four weeks.
"As independent primary health care organisations with extensive local system networks, we are able to support the government's mental health goals on the ground, in the most effective way.
"The HeadtoHelp hubs have an innovative and flexible model of care that is needs-based and recovery-focused. With early professional support, mental health issues do not need to escalate. HeadtoHelp will support Victorians on their journey back to good health."
There will be nine HeadtoHelp hubs located in Greater Melbourne and six in regional Victoria. The locations are:
- Greater Melbourne: Berwick, Frankston, Officer, Hawthorn, Yarra Junction, West Heidelberg, Broadmeadows, Wyndham Vale, Brunswick East
- Regional Victoria: Warragul, Sale, Bendigo, Wodonga, Sebastopol and Norlane
The hubs, announced on 17 August as part of a $31.9 million federal government mental health package to support Victorians during the COVID-19 pandemic, have been rapidly rolled out across the state at a cost of $26.9 million.