‘Transformational reform’ of the Victorian Mental Health system applauded by Eating Disorders Victoria
March 2 2021
Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV) CEO Belinda Caldwell was present today for the joint sitting of both houses of the Victorian Parliament, where the final report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System was tabled.
The historic report, which has been two years in the making, made 65 recommendations for the transformation of Victoria’s current mental health system. This will mean significant structural changes to the way that Victorians affected by mental illness, including people with eating disorders and their families/supports, access and receive care.
While the report has far ranging consequences for all Victorians, we know that people affected by eating disorders will want to know how these changes will affect them. At present, the recommendations are broad and all encompassing, making it difficult to say exactly how these changes will affect people with eating disorders.
What we do know is that the system will be re-designed around a community-based model of care that enables access to services close to where people live. It is particularly pleasing to see that the system will have two streams: one for infants, children and young people (age 0-26) and one for adults and older adults (aged 26+). Within these streams, there will be stepped levels of care, with each level progressing in specialisation/severity. There will expanded options for engaging with services (centres/clinics, telehealth, digital technology, home visits, community outreach). Intensive and specialist mental health services will no longer have ‘catchment’ requirements, meaning that services cannot turn people away based on where they live, a significant outcome for those affected by eating disorders. New family and carer-led centres will also be established to provide tailored information and services to families, carers and supporters. The community level services will operate on the proviso of “how can we help?” giving people experiencing mental illness and psychological distress a well-rounded experience that is suitable for their needs.
Embedded in this new system will be the expertise and voice of those with lived experience of mental illness. We are delighted to see the contributions of the lived experience and peer workforce recognised in this way, from governance and leadership through to service delivery.
The newly established Mental Health and Wellbeing Division of the Victorian government will oversee the implementation of this new system. An independent, non-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission will be established to hold the government to account for the performance of the mental health system and the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
Eating Disorders Victoria is ready to delve deeper into these reforms with the relevant agencies to ensure that eating disorder support and care is integrated at each step of this new system.
“Today’s report lays the foundation for a system that will have an enormous impact for people affected by eating disorders and their loved ones. The system allows for greater access to care regardless of geographic boundaries and importantly, will manage people’s transitions through services so that they are not left languishing. At EDV, we are committed to guiding people at every step of their journey, from discovery to recovery. It is heartening to see that the broader system of care will now also reflect this approach,” EDV CEO Belinda Caldwell said.
You can access the full report as well as the summary and recommendations here.
We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with the progress and implementation of the recommendations. Should you require support from Eating Disorders Victoria, please contact the EDV Hub, Mon-Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm on 1300 550 236 or submit an enquiry here.