‘Victorians have been really struggling’: Free mental health services coming to Melbourne

‘Victorians have been really struggling’: Free mental health services coming to Melbourne

free mental health
Words by Lucas Radbourne

The Victorian government has announced that 12 pop-up mental health services will open in Melbourne, and a further eight throughout regional Victoria

Victoria’s deputy premier James Merlino announced the $22.1 million mental health package today to extend free mental health support services available for the state, as Melbourne verges on the record of most locked-down city in the world.

Melburnians have spent nearly 230 days in lockdown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with Merlino saying that people across the state are experiencing dramatic mental health challenges. You can read our breakdown of the Victorian government’s previous mental health packages here.

What you need to know

  • Victoria is getting 20 pop-up, free mental health services
  • 12 will be in metropolitan Melbourne
  • There will also be a dedicated hotline, website and targeted support for minorities

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

“Throughout this pandemic over the last 19 months some Victorians have been really struggling,” he said.

“Whether that’s through isolation, whether it’s financial stress, whether it’s illness and indeed loss of life or loss of a loved one via COVID, this has been an incredibly difficult, unprecedented time and many Victorians are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.”

12 of the pop-up services will be set up across metropolitan Melbourne, with exact locations and other details still to come. They’ll begin opening by the end of this month. Merlino said that 90 clinicians would provide 93,000 additional hours of support and counselling for patients.

They’ll be accompanied by a 1300 hotline and a dedicated website, to help alleviate booming pressure on existing services such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue.

These services account for just over $13 million of the new funding package, while the remaining money will be allocated towards targeted support services for children with anxiety, First Nations and LGBTQIA communities.

For more information on support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348  or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.