JMR with Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt
People in Geelong with mental health and wellbeing concerns are set to have access to further mental health support – with no fee, and no appointment needed – at the permanent site of the Morrison Government-funded Geelong Head to Health Centre.
The purpose-built site for the Geelong Head to Health Centre will be at 8-16 Station Street, Norlane. It is expected to be fully operating by June this year. The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and Victorian Senator, Sarah Henderson, visited the Station Street building site today.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians,” Minister Hunt said. “This is why the Morrison Government continues to make mental health support a national priority.
“Our Government’s investment in Head to Health centres like this one in Geelong will boost mental health and wellbeing access and support. It will save lives and improve lives.”
“Geelong locals have been accessing Head to Health mental health services since December 2021, at various community-based locations around Geelong. This has been helping to support people in the community where they live and over the holiday season, and addressing the increasing demand for mental health services resulting from COVID-19.”
Senator Henderson said the new site will offer a comprehensive range of services at a single, easy to access location.
“The purpose-built site has focused on privacy for those accessing the site, and the location and size of the site encourages other services to be located in the same building, to support service integration and a seamless and coordinated patient journey,” she said.
“Services provided at Geelong Head to Health will be recovery focused, trauma informed and person-centred, with an emphasis on ensuring consumers and carers do not need to retell their story.”
“Head to Health centres are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, ‘no wrong door’ entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and support.”
“This is provided through a multidisciplinary team operating over extended hours, without needing a prior appointment or paying a fee. This makes it easier to get the help you need.”
Geelong Head to Health will offer support to adults with moderate to severe mental illness by providing mental health treatment over the short to medium term.
It will also provide a safe place to present for people experiencing high levels of distress, or who are at heightened risk of suicide.
The Geelong Head to Health Centre is one of 8 initial trial of Head to Health Centres in each state and territory, funded by the Australian Government at a cost of $114.5 million.
The Morrison Government is expanding the program, with a further 8 centres and 24 satellites over the coming years. The Government has allocated $487.2 million for the expansion and to provide ongoing funding for the initial 8 trial sites. This investment is part of the record $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan announced in the 2021–22 Budget.
The Geelong Head to Health Centre services are currently available 7 days per week across extended hours from 9am-9pm weekdays and 12pm-6pm on weekends and public holidays.
The service has been commissioned by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network and will be operated by Neami National in partnership with Drummond St Services.
The Morrison Government is committed to working towards zero suicides and transforming the mental health system to ensure that all Australians can access the right care and essential services whenever and wherever they need.
Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.
4 March 2022