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Why Neil Mitchell is ‘concerned’ about Victoria’s mental health reform recommendations

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Why Neil Mitchell is ‘concerned’ about Victoria’s mental health reform recommendations

A royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system has found it is “operating in crisis mode”.

The report has made 65 recommendations for a major overhaul of the system, including the establishment of a mental health and wellbeing commission, and the appointment of a chief mental health officer, along with a new mental health commissioner.

Premier Daniel Andrews says he’s committed to implementing all of the recommendations.

“There will be a whole new bureaucracy,” Neil Mitchell said.

“I get cynical about that. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps it’s necessary.

“That concerns me because I don’t want pen-pushers, I want people on the streets helping the families … in the middle of this horror.

“I want a system whereby a mental health patient doesn’t sit for 12 hours in an emergency ward before they leave and go out and take their own life.

“I want a system where a young woman, who is suicidal, can be taken off for treatment without being handcuffed.”

Former premier and long-time mental health campaigner, Jeff Kennett, says he also has concerns about the overhaul plan.

“This report, to me, does not have a foundation in fact because there is no commitment to any monies and it doesn’t have a timeframe for implementation, although the Premier says he is going to introduce all the recommendations,” he said.

“I, like you, am worried about a blow-out in bureaucracy. I think that might be tempered because it sounds as though they may put all of those who are currently working within mental health in the public service into this new body.

“However, the report indicates there will be a massive increase in services and therefore that will need more people. I don’t know where they’re going to come from.”

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Neil Mitchell
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