Representatives from more than 30 community organisations have banded together to demand better access to mental health services for residents in the City of Whittlesea.
Information presented at last week’s Whittlesea Community Futures forum highlighted the alarming service gaps in mental health services in the municipality compared to other areas of Melbourne and has left local agencies calling for equity when funding mental health services.
The City of Whittlesea has requested five commitments from the Federal Government to bring the municipality in line with services available to residents living in inner suburbs.
Mayor Lawrie Cox said the City of Whittlesea was the most disadvantaged local government area in the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network catchment.
“City of Whittlesea has a relatively high proportion of vulnerable groups at risk of poor mental health outcomes including women in the perinatal period, women who experience family violence and Aboriginal people,” he said.
“We have the highest level of unemployment in the catchment and a very high proportion of residents earning less than $400 per week.
“Given the strong correlation between social and economic disadvantage and mental disorder it is not surprising that Whittlesea has the highest rate of psychological distress at 15 per 100 people.
“We urge the Federal Government to consideration population growth, vulnerable groups and supports for youth when funding mental health services.”
What is needed:
We urge the Federal Government to take into consideration population growth and the higher proportion of vulnerable groups at greater risk of poorer mental health outcomes when funding mental health services.
We need the Federal Government to provide ongoing funding to establish a permanent location to house headspace in the City of Whittlesea
We request that the Federal Government commit to long-term funding for tailored, responsive and accessible mental health services and supports for young people such as Neami’s Yflex program.
Federal Government funding is needed to establish a Safe Haven Café in the health precinct surrounding the Northern Hospital, in close proximity to the newly established Victorian Aboriginal Health Service 9VAHS) clinic.
Council urges the Federal Government to prioritise the City of Whittlesea for Way Back Support Service as part of the $27.1 million allocated to expand the initiative in the 2018/2019 Federal Government budget.