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A system in crisis: More mental health workers needed to meet demand

Today’s mental health announcement from the Andrews Labor Government doesn’t go anywhere near far enough to address Victoria’s shadow pandemic.

Calls to KidsHelpline and Beyond Blue have dramatically increased since 2019 and there’s been a surge in the number of mental health emergencies among young people through the pandemic.

But instead of a plan for more boots on the ground to keep up with the growing demand, today the Andrews Labor Government’s offered another band aid fix.

Victoria’s six lockdowns have dealt a devastating blow to the mental health of every Victorian.

It will only get worse if Victorians can’t get the mental health support they need, when they need it.

Solutions that will deliver an extra 4000 mental health specialists into the workforce are at our fingertips.

Mental Health Minister James Merlino was among the Andrews Labor Government MPs who last week blocked simple reforms proposed by the Liberals and Nationals to fill gaps in the mental health workforce.

Our positive plan for better mental health includes practical changes to funding criteria which will deliver an additional 2000 provisional psychologists into the local workforce, as well as common sense changes to Victorian legislation to allow 2000 counsellors to offer guidance counselling at Victorian schools.

We need to get Victoria back on track, but Daniel Andrews only has a plan to hold Victoria back.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy

Without delivering additional mental health workers all the Andrews Labor Government has done is demand that an under-resourced workforce works even harder.

The priority should be fixing gaps in Victoria’s fatigued mental health workforce which could be done by supporting the Liberal Nationals’ common-sense plan to unlock 4000 extra workers.

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