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MEDIA RELEASE: Victoria sets the right tone for WA to improve mental health services.

The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s response to its Royal Commission into Mental Health and calls on the WA State Government to follow Victoria’s lead in building a mental health system from the ground up, that will both save money and lives.

WAAMH CEO Taryn Harvey said the WA Government already had a blueprint for mental health reform called the ‘Better Choices, Better Lives’, Mental Health Plan 2015-2015, which the Prevent Support Heal campaign has been campaigning on to increase funding into community support and prevention.

“We invite WA Premier Mark McGowan to do what Victoria has done and sit down with people with lived experience in WA and really listen to their stories about how we can finally implement our own blueprint to reform and increase access to community mental health support and prevention in this State,” Ms Harvey said.

“The Prevent Support Heal campaign has been listening to thousands of people and telling their stories in a WA context – those people now need the Government to sit up and listen to them.”

“We applaud the Victorian Government’s leadership in adopting all the recommendations from their Royal Commission into Mental Health and committing to include those in their upcoming May Budget.”

Premier Daniel Andrews has demonstrated he genuinely understands the issues at hand when he said, “local early, not hospital late” and, “Now we have a clear blueprint, a clear plan on how we can build, not disparate services, but a connected system that will change the lives of people with mental illness and the people who loved them the most, their families and carers”.

Ms Harvey particularly welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment to establishing mental health and wellbeing services available close to where people live and in their communities.

These will offer the full range of supports needed to enable recovery and lead contributing lives, combining both clinical and non-clinical services and supports.

“The Victorian Commission’s vision is also the vision of Western Australian people with lived experience – a commitment to offering consumers genuine community-based alternatives to hospital or crisis-based care,” Ms Harvey said.

“We welcome the strong focus in the report on listening to and valuing the experiences of consumers, carers and family members and ensuring lived experience leadership will inform every aspect of the government’s planning, service design and service delivery in response to the report.”

Just like in Victoria, people with lived experience in WA have called for the establishment of services designed, led and staffed by consumers for consumers, with the difference being, the Victorian government has actually committed to establishing these.

WAAMH also welcomed Premier Daniel Andrew’s offer to follow a best practice model when negotiating his National Partnership agreement with the Federal Government later this year.“The Victorian Royal Commission, the Federal Productivity Commission report and WA’s own Mental Health Plan are all saying the same thing,” Ms Harvey said. “It is time to act. It is time to focus on major reform not isolated programs and improvements. It is time to offer real support for real people in the community to move us away from a crisis approach to mental health.”

“It is time to fully involve people with lived experience in the design and implementation of reform.”