Victoria’s upcoming budget will feature an $868.8 million boost for mental health.
The package in the November 24 state budget will include $492 million to fund 120 mental health beds in Melbourne and Geelong.
That was one of the interim recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system.
There will also be $18.9 million for 35 acute treatments beds for public mental health patients in private health services, plus $21.4 million to support the expansion of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service..
“We need to do this now because our (mental health) system is broken,” Mental Health Minister James Merlino said on Thursday.
Last November, the royal commission interim report said Victoria’s mental health system had “catastrophically failed to live up to expectations”.
Mr Merlino said this year’s pandemic had added to the state’s mental health issues.
“We have got the twin wicked challenge of a mental health system that is broken and this year dealing with the impact of a global pandemic and all the stress and isolation, being apart from loved ones and the impact on people’s mental health,” he said.
“So now, more than ever, we need to invest in reform in a mental health system.”
Earlier this month, Melbourne came out of a 112-day lockdown that included evening curfews and strict travel limits.