The Victorian Budget 2020-21 will create more jobs in the mental health sector from early next year.

The Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System called for immediate action to overcome a critical shortage of workers in the sector

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased pressure on services.

The Budget provides $7.7 million in funding to boost the number of workers in the system, especially in regional and rural areas.

The initiatives include:

  • More graduate mental health nurse positions
  • Postgraduate mental health nursing scholarships
  • Extra support for junior medical officer rotations in psychiatry from 2021
  • Funding to develop a program for allied health graduates to pursue a career in the mental health sector.

More mental health nurses

Funding of $4.3 million will provide additional graduate mental health nurses and increase nurse educator positions from 2021. This will allow nurse graduates to pursue a specialist career in mental health.

The Budget funding will help create a workforce ‘pipeline' in Victoria with enough nurses to sustain the mental health system.

Junior Medical Officer psychiatry training

The Victorian Government has already funded a first round of Junior Medical Officer positions in Melbourne, rural and regional Victoria.

Mental Health Reform Victoria is working with the sector, mental health services, and people with a lived experience to develop a training framework. This will help to ensure junior doctors have a positive learning experience and receive the right support.

This initiative will build the medical workforce necessary to meet the mental health needs of Victorians.

Lived Experience Workforce

The Budget includes $16 million to develop the lived experience workforce. This provides opportunities for people with lived experience of mental ill-health and carers through new training, education, and employment options.

A lived experience peer cadetship program will create opportunities for people wishing to study a Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and gain valuable on the job experience at the same time. This course is now free at TAFE.

Mental Health Reform Victoria is working with the sector, mental health services, and the lived experience workforce to plan these initiatives.