Mental health emergency response (7.05.2014)

Written on the 13 May 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- On Sunday I was at Prahran police station with my parliamentary colleagues the Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge, and Clem Newton-Brown, the member for Prahran in the other place, to hear the minister announce new funding of $15.1 million for statewide mental health and police crisis response. The mental health and police (MHAP) response will now reach 21 area mental health services across the state.

There have been a number of trials and projects in the past; however, the MHAP response is a new and innovative approach to how police, our emergency services and mental health workers will work to respond to mental health crises in the community. The new funding outlined in yesterday's budget allows for mental health, police and emergency services teams to work in collaboration and be able to develop their own unique and local mental health crisis response.

In attendance at the announcement was Lucinda Nolan, deputy commissioner, strategy, Victoria Police; Dr Simon Stafrace, director, Alfred Psychiatric Services; a representative from Ambulance Victoria; and Doug Bowles, acting senior sergeant for the southern metro region of Victoria Police. Doug Bowles spoke of the practical difference a tailored crisis response makes in the field, enabling timely and effective intervention.

Mental health is complex, and at times acute episodes can resolve quickly. However, in the past police and emergency services have often needed to take someone experiencing a crisis to an emergency department, where after an hour or so the crisis may have passed and the patient is discharged. The MHAP response has better outcomes for the patient and their families, including less police time and less time spent in our emergency departments.

This very good initiative was outlined in yesterday's budget and is just one of the many investments within the health system that are improving outcomes and services for Victorians.

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