A Mental Health Integration and Coordination Unit (MHICU) was launched yesterday (July 9) by Jacinta Collins, minister for mental health and ageing.
This is a mobile health service that will be run and supported by Bayside Medicare Local.
Bayside Medicare Local has contributed $250,000 toward the creation of this service, which it hopes will provide "better care and early intervention" for people suffering from mental illnesses.
The MHICU is the result of a partnership between the Victoria Police, The Alfred Hospital and the Australian government, which has promised $9.8 million worth of funding this financial year.
It will primarily serve residents of Melbourne's Bayside area, but its services will also extend to those in Port Phillip, Stonnington and Glen Eira.
According to the Bayside Medicare Local website, one in ten people in these areas are currently affected by some form of mental illness.
It is no wonder, then, that the number of mental health emergencies occurring in and around Bayside is on the rise.
"Many of us, if not all of us, have a family member, an extended family member, a friend – someone at some point in their life who is dealing with mental health issues," said Ms Collins.
The MHICU will offer much-needed support to the police, ambulance officers and hospital emergency departments who help these people on a daily basis.
Trained mental health clinicians and police officers will work together in the Mental Health Integration Coordination Unit, to "resolve crises with minimum distress to the consumer".
Ms Collins said the unit will offer not only an entirely new service, but also a new way of looking at mental health crises and helping people to get through them.
"It shows the practical improvements in health and medical services being made as a result of the Australian government's health reforms and its network of Medicare Locals," explained Ms Collins.
Medicare Locals are being set up all over Australia to ensure decisions about health services are being made in line with the needs of local communities.
The creation of this MHICU seems to prove that the system is working.
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