What the Royal Commission said 

In its Final Report, the Royal Commission noted that: 

  • the current mental health system is not equipped to handle mental health emergencies
  • police are often the first responders to mental health crises
  • police-led responses can lead to poor outcomes for people in crisis
  • police are not clinicians. Their involvement can increase trauma and stigma. Victoria Police has recognised this.
  • we need to create better processes to support people having mental health emergencies. 

What are the opportunities? 

Victorians who need mental health support will be assessed by mental health services. They will receive support in appropriate settings instead of in hospital emergency departments.

New training for paramedics and police will help to improve emergency responses. 

What are we doing? 

This work received funding in the 2021-22 Budget. This funding will enable us to deliver the following projects. 

A project team in Ambulance Victoria 

  • Mental health nurses and referral service staff will be able to provide rapid triage and mental health assessment.
  • They will be able to provide support both at the point of call and in the field.  
  • Enhanced mental health training will be available to the entire frontline workforce.

Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA)  

  • The Emergency Service Telecommunications Authority helps Victorians receive support when they need it.
  • ESTA handles over 2 million calls per year.  
  • The ESTA project team will undertake planning and design work to ensure that Victorians receive the right support at the right time.

A project team in Victoria Police 

  • Victoria Police will deliver a new telehealth communication project.
  • This project will increase technology capabilities and implement recommendations from the Police, Ambulance and Clinical Early Response (PACER) evaluation.

A project team in the Department of Health 

  • This funding will support Department of Health to oversee project governance and implementation.
  • This will include setting up project control groups and steering committees.