In addition to the immediate physical health issues presented by COVID-19, we are acutely aware of the emerging impact on our community’s mental health with increased presentations to our mental health services and Emergency Departments. The challenges of COVID-19 on mental health will continue in the long term.
In light of these emerging challenges, we welcomed the Victorian Government announcement on Sunday 9 August, of the provision of $59.7 million in new funding to strengthen the capacity of clinical and community mental health services across Victoria. The funding will assist services to cope with additional presentations by increasing system capacity within hospitals and the community and, in turn, reduce pressure on busy hospital emergency departments.
There will be the provision to fast-track the delivery of more public acute mental health beds as recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system. Also, a boost to community mental health services and accelerated statewide rollout of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program. The program will include seven new sites, including one at Monash Medical Centre.
Pleasingly, there is recognition of the pressures on our healthcare workers, and an extra $250,000 will be provided to the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program to ensure additional mental health counselling and support for nurses, midwives, and personal care workers.
Monash Health recognises, in addition to caring for our community, supporting the wellbeing of employees, is a crucial aspect of our COVID-19 response. Please take every opportunity to look after your health and wellbeing. We often hear the phrase, “In these restricted times, simple things count for a lot,” and that is doubly so during this time. We encourage you all to make time to find your version of the ‘simple things’ as they can lift spirits significantly. You may wish to attend the free Workplace Wellness Festival, which will be particularly relevant this year. There are also new resources available to you and tips on managing emotional fatigue, on the Health and Wellbeing page on the employee website.