The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System provided a series of recommendations to ensure that the future mental health and wellbeing system puts people with lived experience at the centre of its design and delivery.

A recommendation in the Royal Commission’s interim report called for the establishment of a new residential mental health service designed and delivered by people with lived experience.

The Royal Commission identified that the service should be “facilitated through a partnership between an area mental health service and a mental health community support service or a community health service”.

The service will provide short-term mental health treatment, care, and support for Victorians in a residential community setting. It will offer an alternative to acute hospital-based care.

This new bed-based service will be the first of its kind in Victoria. Similar services in New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom have been highly effective for residents.

The Victorian Government has appointed The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) to support the early planning of the service.

TACSI will begin stage 1 co-design for the service this month. They will work with consumers, carers and families, service providers and the mental health workforce to develop design principles for the new service.

Stage 2 of the project is expected to begin by the end of 2021. This stage will see a partnership appointed to deliver the service. The location of the residential service is still to be determined.

This new service is a foundational project for Victoria’s future mental health and wellbeing system. It will ensure that the voices of people with lived experience are at the centre of its design and delivery.

The 2021-22 Victorian State Budget invested $5 million towards establishing the service. This was part of a record $3.8 billion investment in starting to rebuild Victoria’s mental health system.