My Question is to the Minister for Health representing the Minister for Mental Health.

Last week I spent time travelling around my electorate of Western Victoria. I travelled from Geelong to Horsham, Nhill, Edenhope and Hamilton. While each town varied in size and scale, there was a reoccurring focus and concern about mental health services.

Last August, I questioned Minister Foley on the 4-6 week average wait time for those wanting to meet with a specialist at Headspace in Horsham. Since then, waiting times have worsened, with many mental health cases becoming more ‘acute’ while people sit idle on lengthy waitlists. One potential solution suggested to me, was that the State considers funding a new ‘shopfront’ style mental health service for middle aged members of our society. By having older people access a separate service, this would allow Headspace to continue its invaluable work in youth mental health and reduce waiting times dramatically.

Question: Can the Minister indicate whether the Andrews Government is considering funding a new ‘shopfront’ style mental health service for adults, allowing Headspace to focus solely on youth mental health cases?

MINISTER RESPONDED

Thank you Minister, I also note that the Governments funding package to attract teachers to rural and regional Victoria has been warmly welcomed by communities and educators alike. The issue of attracting specialists to country Victoria is not only related to education, with Horsham Headspace advertising for one of their specialist roles to be filled for nearly 2 years. Given this…..

Supplementary question: What additional steps is the Andrews Government taking in order to attract more mental health specialists to rural and regional Victoria, in order to reduce wait times and improve patient outcomes?

MINISTER RESPONDED