26 September 2023

New mental health hubs a one-stop network

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Victorian families are to have access to one-stop shops for mental health support required by infants, children, parents and carers as the Department of Health prepares to launch a new network of Health and Wellbeing hubs.

Announced by Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino, the hubs are to deliver on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

“The three new hubs will deliver a range of specialist and allied health services – like paediatricians, psychologists, parenting support and speech pathologists – under one roof, making seeking support for mental health concerns easier for families,” Mr Merlino said.

“Providing tailored care, the hubs will deliver earlier and better outcomes for children aged 0-11 years who have developmental, behavioural and emotional challenges, as well as their families – including access to free assessments for development issues and autism,” he said.

“The hubs respond to the need for a renewed focus on early intervention and age-appropriate care to meet development and mental health challenges in younger children – where there has traditionally been a gap in suitable care.”

Mr Merlino said the new hubs would service Southern Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton and Loddon areas, and were expected to begin providing care from July.

The Minister said these three initial locations were chosen based on factors like population growth, early childhood development rates and the projected demand for mental health and wellbeing support in the coming years.

“The hubs will be designed in consultation with local community health services, family services, mental health and wellbeing service providers and the community itself – making sure their service offerings are properly tailored to local needs, building on each regions’ existing resources and capacity,” Mr Merlino said.

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