A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Local officially opens its doors to the community in Melbourne’s southeast with a symbolic ribbon-cutting event that involved two participants and Operations Manager, Sharon Schneider-Loos.

Before the Frankston community was invited to an official yet personal tour of the new location at 454 Nepean Highway, a smoking ceremony was held, and about 50 representatives and guests gathered in the large foyer of the building accommodating the new Local Services to reflect on the journey that led to this great outcome.

What is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Local?

Deeply appreciative of the work and contribution that partners Wellways, Mentis Assist, and Peninsula Health, as well as the Department of Health and City of Frankston, have put into creating this service, Local MP Paul Edbrooke shared a message from the new Minister of Mental Health, Ms Ingrid Stitt MLC, highlighting the importance of strong partnerships.

‘I want to acknowledge the massive contribution of Wellways, Mentis Assist and Peninsula Health. Their partnership has been fundamental in getting us here, and their dedication stands the test of time – from getting the operation up from the ground last year to the all-extensive operation it is today. The service will continue to support the Frankston community. Anyone can walk in and get the help they need,’ the Minister’s statement read.

After reflecting on his connection to mental health, the Frankston MP also celebrated the difference the new accessible and free service will make for people in his electorate.

‘We love that people look towards Frankston for their direction about where they want their community to be. And we are giving them options when they might not have been able to look outside the square. We have done that,’ Mr Edbrooke said.

Frankston Mayor Nathan Conroy addressed the audience by referring to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Local as a ‘game changer’ while underlining that this new service will make a difference for many years to come.

‘It’s not only going to be the standard right around Victoria, it’s going to be huge and it’s actually going to change our city for generations,’ the Mayor said.

Watch the Opening Ceremony unfold

Wellways CEO Laura Collister has thanked everyone involved for always putting participants first and being true to embedding lived experience at the centre of the new service. She also firmly believes that this new service sets an example for many more to come and that ‘the state is going to look to what we do in Frankston to do something similar.’

In line with the Wellways CEO, Terry Palioportas, Mentis Assist CEO, also underlined this new service's role model character for the rest of the state as part of the all-important mental health reform.

‘We can’t do this on our own. We’ve always shown that we can deliver great services. I think it’s because of the partnership that we have. It’s everything that makes our community function. I just can’t wait for this model to be replicated across the state,’ Mr Palioportas said.

Peninsula Health Executive Director for Mental Health, Fiona Reed, remarked on how thrilled her colleagues are with the partners’ shared vision of ‘anyone needing help should be able to access the support they need at any given time’.

Photos from the Opening Ceremony

Below are images from the event, featuring Bunurong Land Council (smoking ceremony), Terry Palioportas, CEO of Mentis Assist, Fiona Reed, Executive Director, Nursing, Midwifery and Mental Health of Peninsula Health, Mr Paul Edbrooke MP, Cr Nathan Conroy, Laura Collister, CEO of Wellways, Sharon Schneider-Loos, participants and guests.

To find out more about how to access the services at the new Frankston Mental Health and Wellbeing Local here.