By Alesha Capone
A new mental health hub has been established in Wyndham Vale to help people struggling with anxiety and depression caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HeadtoHelp centre is one of 15 mental health hubs being set up across the state, as part of the federal government’s response to the pandemic.
The federal government has provided $26.9 million to fund the hubs for 12 months.
The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWPHN) worked with primary health care services, hospitals, the Victorian Mental Health Pandemic Response Taskforce and the state and federal governments to identify the locations for the hubs.
NWPHN’s chief executive Christopher Carter said the hubs’ services would be available free of charge, to people with pre-existing and recently-developed mental health conditions.
IPC Health, which is operating the Wyndham Vale hub, opened the centre’s doors last week.
IPC chief executive Jayne Nelson said: “This is an extraordinarily difficult time for many people and this funding greatly increases the region’s capacity to provide mental health services to our community when they need it most.
“IPC Health’s HeadtoHelp hub is a free service that will provide a safe space for people to access early intervention mental health care over the next 12 months.
“This will include access to a range of connected services for those who are concerned for their mental wellbeing or the wellbeing of their families.”
Victoria’s Primary Health Networks are taking a staged approach to setting up the hubs, which will initially be open from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
To contact HeadtoHelp, call 1800 595 212 between these hours or visit headtohelp.org.au. (Note: This is not a crisis service).
Trained mental health professionals will assess each caller’s needs and connect them with the most appropriate local services, including the new mental health hubs or existing services.