Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and announced yesterday by the Australian Government’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, HeadtoHelp is an initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is being led by the six Victorian Primary Health Networks (PHNs).
The response includes the establishment of 15 mental health hubs across Victoria, including two hubs for Gippsland.
Mr Hunt confirmed the locations of 15 mental health hubs throughout Victoria as part of a $31.9 million package for the state. The 15 hubs – which are named HeadtoHelp Hubs – will receive $26.9 million of the broader funding package, with nine hubs throughout greater Melbourne and six hubs located in regional Victoria.
Gippsland PHN has successfully advocated for a ‘Hub and Satellite’ model to ensure HeadtoHelp services reach beyond the two mental hub sites by enabling the roll out of satellite sites, particularly important in country Victoria.
Services will be operational from tomorrow, 14 September 2020, with a foundation workforce and will be rapidly scaled up to full capacity in hub and satellite locations. In recognition of the challenges of workforce in rural and regional areas, the evidence-based design of the HeadtoHelp model ensures best use of current, existing multidisciplinary workforce teams whilst attracting new workforce into Gippsland. The services are designed to complement and raise awareness of existing services in each location.
The HeadtoHelp initiative includes a state-wide 1800 phone line inclusive of best practice initial assessment, intake and referral to ensure services offered match the needs of the individuals. The intake process will provide a no wrong door approach.
They will work closely with existing providers including GPs and hospitals, referring people to more intensive mental health care or social supports if needed.
Once fully established, the hubs and satellite centres will work in an integrated way within the HeadtoHealth model of care, offer multidisciplinary teams of mental health workers, including psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, alcohol and drug workers, peer support workers to provide extra support during the pandemic.
Mr Hunt welcomed the opening of the hubs, the development of which followed concerns over rising incidents of self-harm, and a spike in the use of services like Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Kids Helpline by Victorians.
Since the initial announcement of the funding on 17 August by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Victoria’s six Primary Health Networks, including Gippsland, rapidly mobilised and launched a collaborative effort to get these new mental health services operating as quickly as possible.
Read the full media release below.