Victoria Legal Aid

Welcome focus on trauma, housing and young people in mental health recommendations

Your story, your say participant Jacqui says the final recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System have provided the groundwork to create a system where people feel supported and unashamed to seek help.

Wednesday 14 April 2021 12:00am

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has delivered its final report, making 65 recommendations for changeExternal Link . As implementation begins, we are sharing responses from people with a lived experience of the system.

Jacqui shared her story with the royal commission through our Your story, your say project. Her experience shows how important it is for young people to have access to services that are tailored to their individual needs.

These are her reflections on the final report and recommendations.

‘On the whole I think the royal commission has made recommendations that really have the potential to reach and support people who would otherwise be falling through the cracks. I think it could slowly create a system where individuals of all ages and situations are supported and feel unashamed to access support.

I’m glad they started with developing a framework on mental health and wellbeing outcomes because I think that could create a reliable and accountable way of managing the system. Accountability is the big word because I don’t think there’s a lot of accountability in certain sections of the system right now.

The recommendations for more services are really important, especially in regional settings because that should encourage people to seek help earlier and more often if they need it. Most of the time people dealing with mental health issues in regional areas are overlooked.

It’s also good to see a mix of rapid responses and extended long-term treatment options being recommended. At the moment I don’t feel like a lot of treatment is provided on the timeline that the person actually needs it, it's more what the service is able to provide rather than what the person actually needs.

I was really pleased to see the recommendation for more step up and step-down services particularly for young people. I think they take away the fear about being hospitalised and give you some breathing space which is really important.

I’m also really supportive of the recommendation for more supported housing for adults and young people living with mental health issues. It’ll give people some peace of mind and allow them to feel settled a little bit more. Once you have a place you know you can always come back to, something a little bit more permanent and reliable, even if everything else is chaotic then it is easier to start work on other areas you need to.

I really like the fact that they pointed out trauma separately and the need to tackle it in a specialised way. I hope this means people will actually get help in the areas they need rather than just being put into a generalised service.

I’m glad they’ve recommended peer support workers for trauma care too because having someone with that experience, you feel comfortable and more confident in speaking to them knowing they’ve been through it before. You’ll feel like they can actually help because it’s a more specialised view point. Some people’s needs are more complex than others and it will help to detangle it a little bit.

I think the whole report was good, but I would have liked to see a bit more equity in the number of new services recommended for young people compared to those for adults and older adults. It’s 50-60 for adults compared to 13 for kids and young people. If early intervention is a primary focus and I think it should be, then I think the ratio should have been more balanced. I agree that we should focus on adult and older adult services, but mental health issues are becoming more of a problem for children and young people and it makes a lot of sense to try and help them earlier too.

Now the report has been released I hope the government actually allocates a reasonable amount of funding to achieve these recommendations. We’ve got the groundworks, now we need the government to turn around and dedicate the time and money to make it happen.’

More information

Read the stories and experiences of people with a lived experience of the mental health system in our Your story, your say project.

Read about our submissions and recommendations to the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

Read the royal commission's final report and recommendations on its websiteExternal Link .

Reviewed 19 April 2022