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Liberals and Nationals pledge $1M Lifeline Gippsland and $250,000 for four years to support services and programs for election

A meeting with the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy, in August has resulted in a $1 million commitment to Lifeline Gippsland from the Liberals and Nationals.

By news@gippsland - 8th November 2022 - Back to News

The Liberals and Nationals in state government will provide Lifeline Gippsland an additional $250,000 a year for four years on top of its existing state government funding arrangement. The announcement comes after two Latrobe Valley mental health providers were forced to close their doors in July, and Lifeline Gippsland reported a deficit after demand for support continued to outweigh the Andrews government's funding.

Lifeline Gippsland experienced a 45 percent increase in calls to its 24 hour crisis line during the pandemic which havenít eased off, with the Andrews Government failing to increase funding

Lifeline Gippsland experienced a 45 percent increase in calls to its 24 hour crisis line during the pandemic which haven't eased off, with the Andrews government failing to increase funding

System has not kept pace

Lifeline Gippsland receives $150,000 annually from the state government and triages 11,000 calls a year, on average, at a cost of $430,000. The financial shortfall must be recouped through fundraising.

Lifeline Gippsland experienced a 45 percent increase in calls to its 24 hour crisis line during the pandemic which haven't eased off, with the Andrews government failing to increase funding. Earlier this year it was uncovered that the Andrews government had cut almost $60 million from mental health programs despite a mental crisis occurring in Victoria.

In its final report published in February 2021, The Mental Health Royal Commission stated - "Victoria's mental health system has not kept pace. It has drifted away from its earlier aspirations of a community-based system and now relies too heavily on hospital-based services and emergency departments."

Lack of mental health support

Ms Kealy said the visit to Lifeline Gippsland highlighted the toll the pandemic has taken on our grassroots mental health support system. "Crisis support lines like Lifeline Gippsland did the bulk of heavy lifting to support individuals during lockdowns, yet their ability to fundraise was taken away," Ms Kealy said.

"There is a lack of critical community-based mental health support in Gippsland, and organisations like Lifeline are forced to operate on inadequate budgets. Lifeline Gippsland has done an amazing job to provide support for Victorians in distress who can't get a mental health appointment, often for months on end."

"Labor has turned its back on Lifeline Gippsland at their time of need. The Liberals and Nationals understand Lifeline Gippsland needs our support and I'm proud that in government we will give them financial security to keep their phone lines open to everyone who needs support." Ms Kealy said.

Delivering support services

The Nationals Candidate for Morwell, Martin Cameron, said locals need improved community-based mental health support to break the cycle of individuals presenting at hospital Emergency Departments in crisis. "Speaking with Lifeline Gippsland CEO, Michelle Possingham, it's clear the need for mental health crisis intervention services has not disappeared, I am delighted we can pledge $1 million to boost mental health support."

"With a commitment for a funding increase, Lifeline Gippsland can look at delivering more intervention support services and programs, so people can be supported on their bad days, instead of their worst." Mr Cameron said.

Access to mental health care

Liberal Candidate for Morwell, Dale Harriman, said the Liberal and Nationals aim to deliver improved access to mental health care at the community level. "Cutting mental health funding and restricting access to support services just shifts the problem to hospital Emergency Departments - it's no way to support Victorians."

"Labor has been in government 20 out of the past 24 years - only the Liberals and Nationals will fix Victoria's mental health crisis and build the mental health workforce." Mr Harriman said.

Pictures from Lifeline Gippsland Facebook page.


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