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Liberal Nationals urging support for simple changes to transform Victorian children mental health
Today, the Victorian government finally backflipped on its opposition to much-needed reforms that will unlock more mental health practitioners to work in Victorian schools.
This follows Labor MPs voting down the exact same change that the Liberals and Nationals introduced in a Private Member's Bill in September last year. We made similar changes again in October. Labor MPs voted against it again, stopping counsellors being able to provide much needed mental health support to Victorian children. The Andrews Labor government is being urged to support simple reforms that will immediately deliver hundreds of extra workers for Victoria's under-resourced mental health workforce.
Emma Kealy MP says that our kids can't afford to wait any longer for more specialist support to help them get through the isolation of lockdown, mental health workforce is an urgent need
Expanding the definition
As Labor's six lockdowns continue to weigh on the youngest Victorians, now more than ever we need to look for ways to deliver an immediate boost to the mental health workforce in our schools. An anomaly in the current legislation prevents people who are qualified as counsellors from offering guidance counselling services at Victorian schools.
The Liberal Nationals will introduce a Private Member's Bill in State Parliament today to correct the definition of a 'mental health practitioner' under the Mental Health Act. Registered psychologists, registered nurses, social workers and registered occupational therapists are already covered by the Act.
The Liberal Nationals propose to expand this definition to include registered counsellors, unlocking over 2,000 additional mental health workers to support students right across the state. Backed by the Australian Counselling Association, this is a small change that will make a world of difference to young Victorians by ensuring the right support is available, when they need it.
Workforce under pressure
The proposal further builds on the Liberal Nationals' plan to restore hope and to plan for better mental health for all Victorians, including by deploying dedicated mental health specialists to all Victorian schools.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said, "The mental health workforce is under intense pressure and in desperate need of more resources. This common-sense reform will unlock more mental health workers to provide the surge demand we need to deal with Victoria's shadow pandemic, which makes a world of difference to our youngest Victorians.
Pictures from Mental Health Australia Facebook page.
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