The Victorian government has committed to implement all recommendations made by the state’s royal commission into mental health, before the inquiry has even finished.
Acting Premier Lisa Neville on Tuesday released the government’s submission to the royal commission, including a suggested “stepped-care” model to tailor mental health treatment to individual patients.
“The Labor government will implement all recommendations made by the royal commission to ensure Victorians get the care that they deserve,” she said in a statement.
The inquiry is an opportunity to fix a broken system and save lives, Mental Health Minister Martin Foley added.
“The stepped-care model is about building better connections between mental health services so people don’t fall through the cracks, like too many do right now,” he said.
The commission on Tuesday continued public hearings, which include evidence from about 90 witnesses, including medical professionals and people living with mental illness.
Clinical psychologist Sika Turner said not enough people were being referred to Monash Health’s Agile Psychological Medicine clinic.
Up to 4000 people could have been treated last year, including those with depression, a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation, she added.
However the clinic only received 75 referrals from the emergency crisis assessment and treatment team.
“The system is very much geared towards looking where the highest risk is and trying to mitigate that risk … the system is really stretched and it’s concerned with trying not to get flooded,” Dr Turner told the commission.
“There’s some resources on the surface of it that look like they’re geared towards keeping people out rather than actually getting them in.”
Patients are referred to the clinic by the psychiatric triage service and the emergency crisis assessment and treatment team, Dr Turner said.
If someone went to the emergency room with a broken leg they would get treated almost straight away, and the same wasn’t happening with emergency mental health treatment, she noted.
“There’s too many kind of hoops that people have to jump through to get to that treatment.”