Orygen has welcomed the Victorian Government’s investment of $776 million into mental health and alcohol and other drugs supports over the next four years as part of the 2023-24 State Budget.
The investment includes $157 million for mental health beds across the state including further funding for Orygen Specialist Program’s Hospital in the Home program, and specific funding for Orygen to begin work on a strategic business case to build a youth acute inpatient facility at the Parkville Youth Mental Health precinct.
Orygen also welcomes funding to ensure Orygen Digital’s pioneering Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) platform remains available for existing young people and can reach more young people looking to digitalise their mental health care.
Orygen Acting Executive Director, Kerryn Pennell acknowledged the importance of the Government’s ongoing commitment to implementing the findings of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System at a time when the annual prevalence of mental ill-health in 16 to 24-year-olds has surged in prevalence from 26 per cent in 2007 to 39 per cent – a 50 per cent increase.
“Orygen is pleased mental health reform remains a high priority and we look forward to continuing to partner with the Victorian Government to improve access to quality youth mental health care for young Victorians, including through the new funding provided to the design process for an acute youth inpatient unit for young people across the north-west and western suburbs,” she said.
The 2023-24 Victorian Government Budget also includes investment in alcohol and other drug services, mental health infrastructure, early support through a range of community mental health services and the roll-out of the Mental Health Act.
Other key funding announcements for youth mental health include:
- $17.7 million over three years for suicide prevention and response efforts including funding for LGBTIQA+ suicide support aftercare service, Youth Live4Life for young people in rural and regional Victoria, and the Strong Brother Strong Sister program for Aboriginal young people in Geelong
- $81.3 million over four years to expand specialist forensic mental health services which includes expanding and building the forensic community mental health workforce for both adults and youth particularly in regional areas
- $2.8 million for the Schools Mental Health Fund
Other measures to positively impact the health and wellbeing of young Victorians include $14.6 million towards health and wellbeing services in schools including school nurses, and $50.9 million towards youth justice initiatives including support for Aboriginal young people in custody and community engagement programs.
The government also committed $32.6 million to help young people with complex needs find housing when exiting residential care and other settings, and $40.2 million to continue programs that support people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.