Media Release

Leading community mental health agency, Wellways Australia has called for the next Victorian government to give mental health the same priority as physical health.

Wellways CEO Elizabeth Crowther today launched an online policy intervention campaign to call attention to the pressing needs of Victoria’s community mental health sector. 

Ms Crowther said ‘the State election presents all Victorians with an opportunity to recognise the importance of good mental health. Staying mentally healthy is one of the biggest challenges we all face today. Mental health issues can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or background.’

‘Yet underfunding has seen Victorian government investment in mental health fall well below the rest of Australia,’ said Ms Crowther. ‘Victoria now has the lowest per capita expenditure on mental health in the country, with access to services at 39 per cent below the national average. This needs to be urgently corrected and more needs to be done. Our government needs to give mental health the same priority as physical health.’

This year Wellways has taken the unprecedented decision to actively participate in policy discourse throughout the State election. The campaign was launched through a purpose-built Call to Action microsite and shared across social media by mental health activists.

Drawing on its 40 years of experience, Wellways is seeking a commitment from the next Victorian government to appropriately fund community mental health services, including programs that are building greater carer capacity and skills; provide appropriate information and advice services; that reduce social isolation, expand peer support; and mutual support and self-help programs, as well as vital housing and community integration programs.

Throughout the Call to Action Wellways has outlined what the next Victorian government should to do to make sure Victorians experiencing a mental health issue are supported and respected. These include:

  1. Close the community mental health funding gap;
  2. Make respite real in mental health;
  3. Support Victorian Carers;
  4. Support the mental health of rural and regional Victorians;
  5. Support the Doorway housing and recovery program; and
  6. Provide effective mutual support and self-help programs.

Victorians are urged to support the campaign across social media with the hashtag #givementalhealththesamepriority or visit www.wellways2018.wordpress.com

Download Media release statement (PDF - 436KB)

For more information: 
Jane Kenrick, Media Officer, Wellways Australia
media@wellways.org or Ph: 03 8486 4208 M: 0428 899 845