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New advisory group on mental health Friday, 6 August 2004

Media contact: Ben Hart on 9651 5799 or 0407 445 551 www.vic.gov.au
Friday, 6 August 2004


Victorian mental health bodies now have top-level input into $650 million in State funding, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said today.

Ms Pike said a new Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health would build direct links to peak consumer and carer bodies and related networks to ensure better decision-making around mental health spending.

Chaired by the Network for Carers of People with a Mental Illness president, John McGrath, the 21-strong committee will represent colleagues at the mental health coalface and advise the Health Minister on key issues.

At their inaugural meeting this week, Ms Pike said she was delighted to have such expertise on call.

“The committee represents those who deal with the system on a day-to-day basis: consumers, carers, GPs, academics, the non-government mental health sector and related areas such as drug treatment, housing, welfare and youth services,” Ms Pike said.

“Having such diverse talent on tap will provide insights into evolving trends and encourage innovative strategies to manage priority issues.”

Ms Pike said one such priority involves people with a mental illness who abuse drugs or alcohol.

“Dual-diagnosis clients are one of the most significant groups at risk of relapse or readmission, as well as self-harm. They make up 45 per cent of new mental health clients,” Ms Pike said.

“The committee will address a need for better coordination between mental health and drug and alcohol services to improve access and develop innovative models of integrated service delivery. It will also advise on proposals for major initiatives and priorities for capital and service planning.”

Ms Pike said improving service structures and partnerships was another priority for the committee.

“Mental health area catchments sometimes constrain access beyond local boundaries, limit choice and lead to service inefficiencies. Clustering of catchments, especially for specialist high-cost services and activities, is one option.”

The Bracks Government will provide some $650 million for mental health in 2004/05. This funding through the Human Services Department is nearly 5.7 per cent more than last year.

“We have provided $198 million in additional recurrent funding to mental health since 1999/2000, an overall increase of 30 per cent,” Ms Pike said.

A list of committee members is attached.

The committee, chaired by Carers Network president John McGrath, comprises:

Judith Player (Carers Network vice-president);

Wayne Chamley (consumer);

Amanda Noseda (chair, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council);

Barbara Keeble-Devlin (senior nurse, Peninsula Health);

Joan Clarke (executive director, Prahran Mission);

Liz Crowther (CEO, Mental Illness Fellowship);

Sue West (Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture);

David Murray ((Youth Substance Abuse Service);

Bernie Geary (St Vincent de Paul homeless & welfare services);

Jane Barnes (Salvation Army homeless & welfare services);

Fiona Judd (Centre for Mental Health, Bendigo);

Bruce Singh (Cato Professor of Psychiatry, Melbourne University);

Tom Callaly (adult clinical director, Barwon Health);

Daniel O’Connor (director of psychogeriatrics, Kingston Centre);

Peter Birleson (director of child psychiatry, Maroondah Hospital);

Pat McGorry (executive director, Orygen);

Chris Gibbs (director, North Western Mental Health);

Ken Burnett (Grampians Mental Health area manager);

Graham Burrows (chair, RANZCP Victorian branch);

Julie Thompson (General Practice Division of Victoria).

(F: Press2004/NewMacMentBP/pivetta/06.08)


Media Release Attachment - NewMacMentBP.doc [Word, 44032 Bytes]

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