What the Royal Commission said

Positive outcomes for people living with mental illness, their families and carers depend on the composition, values and skills of the workforce.

The Commission recommended a range of reforms to address serious workforce shortages.

These include new education and training options and recruitment strategies.

The recommendation called for:

  • 60 new funded graduate placements for allied health workers
  • 120 extra funded graduate positions for nurses
  • 140 fully-funded postgraduate mental health nurse scholarships annually
  • mandatory training in psychiatry for Victoria's junior doctors
  • a representative and collaborative mental health leadership network
  • improved workforce data collection and use
  • improved international recruitment processes for our medical workforce.

What are the opportunities?

The reform offers an opportunity to overcome challenges faced by the mental health workforce in Victoria.

Some of the challenges include:

  • many resources are overstretched
  • workforce shortages
  • the need to develop more pathways into employment
  • workforce stigma
  • a lack of specialist skill development
  • difficulty retaining employees in the workforce.

What are we doing?

We are developing plans to expand and support the mental health workforce into the future. Some of our current projects include:

Junior Medical Officers

To overcome a shortage of psychiatrists, we are working to encourage more junior doctors to specialise in psychiatry.

From 2021 we will fund new Junior Medical Officer positions and supervisors.

From 2023, a new mandatory training rotation in psychiatry means all junior doctors will learn mental health skills.

We are working with the sector and people with lived experience of mental illness to develop a ‘framework' to support Junior Medical Officer rotations.

Mental health nursing

We are also working closely with the sector to grow the mental health nursing workforce. From 2021 there will be more graduate mental health nurse positions and extra mental health postgraduate nursing scholarships.

Attracting professionals to the mental health workforce

We are developing a Victorian recruitment strategy and campaign to launch in target international markets to assist the sector. Progress on this initiative is subject to Covid-19-related travel restrictions.

Developing mental health leadership

We are also in the early stages of planning to develop a collaborative mental health leadership network.