The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
The Hon. David Coleman MP
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Senator the Hon. Sarah Henderson
Senator for Victoria
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Victorians living in the Geelong region seeking mental health support, will have access to additional services and quality support over the holiday period through the Federal Government’s new Head to Health centre.
The Geelong Head to Health centre will commence phone and outreach services from
today, ahead of offering its full suite of services in 2022. These services will ensure Victorians in the Geelong region can access high quality mental health services to support them through the holiday period and beyond.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said there was a clear need for the new service in the region.
“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians,” Minister Hunt said.
“The Head to Health service in Geelong will be able to support those in need and people can turn to the service for help knowing they won’t be judged, sent away, or hit with a big bill.
“Geelong Head to Health is now available to adults seeking help, without the need for a GP referral.”
Head to Health centres are designed to provide a welcoming mental health entry point for adults with moderate to severe mental health issues.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman MP, said Head to Health focused on recovery and individual needs.
“The Government is committed to working towards zero suicides and transforming the mental health system to ensure that all Australians can access the right care and essential services whenever and wherever they need them,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“The interim phone and outreach services will provide the same approach, offering support for people having a mental health issue or crisis, including those at risk of suicide.”
The Geelong Head to Health service has been commissioned by Western Victoria Primary Health Network and will be operated by Neami National in partnership with Drummond Street Services. Contact can be made with the service by calling the Head to Health intake and assessment phone service on 1800 595 212 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
A permanent, purpose-built Head to Health centre is currently being constructed in Corio and is expected to open in 2022. As part of the 2019–20 Budget, the Morrison Government committed $114.5 million to fund the trial of eight ‘Head to Health’ Adult Mental Health Centres, with one centre to be established in each state and territory.
Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson, welcomed the additional mental health services for the region.
“The pandemic has shown how crucial it is to support our wellbeing. I want our community to have access to the highest quality care and support when they need it most,” Senator Henderson said.
“Once completed, the Geelong Head to Health Centre will be among a network of community mental health centres ensuring people who need help have access to high quality, person centred care when and where they need it.”
An additional $487.2 million was announced under the 2021–22 Budget to expand the program to an additional 32 sites (eight new centres and 24 satellites) and provide ongoing funding for the initial eight trial sites.
The Morrison Government continues to make mental health and wellbeing a priority. Our Government provided a historic $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget to deliver significant reform of the mental health system and ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.