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Final Report from Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health

In early 2019, the Victoria Government announced that it would be undertaking a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Soon after, Thorne Harbour Health and Rainbow Health Victoria encouraged our LGBTI communities to take action and have their voices heard as part of the community consultations and submission process.

Supported by background information and research, several submissions were made to the Royal Commission from LGBTI organisations and community members. In June 2019, over forty health organisations released a joint statement calling on the Royal Commission to take the needs of LGBTI communities into account.

Overall, the Commission received more than 3,200 submissions from organisations and individuals from across the broader Victorian community. These submissions are available online. The submissions included people with lived experience, families and carers, and the mental health system workforce. Additionally, public hearings were held and witness statements we taken to support the Commission in this process. The Commission was further supported by an Expert Advisory Panel.

Earlier this year, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System delivered its final report. The final report looks at system-wide changes and includes 65 recommendations with an aim to:

  • focus treatment and ensure care is accessible to everyone
  • redesign services from a crisis-driven model to a community-based model
  • establish better support for families and carers
  • build a workforce with the right skills and experience that is both diverse and large enough to meet demand
  • create services that are informed by people with lived experience

The Victorian Government has since committed to implementing all recommendations made by the Commission.

What does this mean for our LGBTI and PLHIV communities?

In the Final Report, the public health response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is cited as a case study where the public health response has been successful in “the rapid establishment of coordinated strategies and the empowerment of civil society and activist groups, backed by a bipartisan, long‑term and multifaceted approach.” Informed by this case study, the Commission has recommended that similar public health approach be taken in responding to the mental health needs of Victorians.

Recommendation 34 in the Final Report focuses on “Working in partnership with and improving accessibility for diverse communities.” This recommendation is inclusive of our LGBTIQ+ communities. The report acknowledges that our communities face systemic barriers to accessing mental health support. The Commission has recommended that the Victorian Government ensure that LGBTIQ+ communities are actively engaged in “the process of planning, implementing and managing the reformed mental health and wellbeing system” and that our communities are enabled to “design and deliver mental health and wellbeing information and awareness campaigns; and assist their communities to navigate the mental health and wellbeing system.” We have seen the Victorian Government embrace this recommendation with the recent budget announcement of $6.4 million dollars for Switchboard Victoria’s Rainbow Door – a free specialist LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, BrotherBoys, SisterGirls) helpline providing information, support, and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Full information about the findings from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System can be found online at: https://finalreport.rcvmhs.vic.gov.au/

There you can:

Unpacking all this information can be daunting. In the coming weeks, Thorne Harbour Health will be providing more information and opportunities to learn more about the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.


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