What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission highlighted the enormous contribution made by families, carers, and supporters. Both to the people they support and for the functioning of the mental health system.

This recommendation aims to ensure system-wide involvement of families, carers, and supporters, and the necessary steps to better support and recognise them.

The focus of this key reform is the development of eight new family and carer-led centres across Victoria. The Royal Commission recommended one centre be established in each region the end of 2022.

The new family and carer-led centres will:

  • provide tailored information and supports for families, carers, and supporters in the region
  • work with families, carers, and supporters to help identify and connect them to supports that will best respond to their needs
  • provide access to hardship funds for immediate practical needs including short-term respite; and
  • deliver support for family and carer peer support groups in the region.

Further support includes a new statewide peer call-back service. This will support families, carers and supporters caring for people experiencing suicidal behaviour.

A new website will also provide tailored information for families, carers and supporters.

What are the opportunities?

The Royal Commission recognised that the current system does not provide adequate or holistic support to families, carers and supporters.

Families, carers, and supporters of someone living with mental illness can experience distinct challenges, including:

  • high degrees of emotional support 
  • managing crises  
  • stigma and isolation 
  • supporting care planning 
  • needing to maintain high vigilance to prevent self-harm.

Families, carers, and supporters currently face a complex system, often with no clear access or help with navigation for their own support needs.  

Lack of information and referral makes it difficult for carers to access support for themselves in their role of caring for loved ones.  

This can lead to carer burnout, and puts families, carers, and supporters at risk of developing their own mental health challenges. 

What are we doing?

The Victorian Government will soon begin work on commissioning non-government organisations to design the new family and carer-led centres.

This will be done in consultation with families and carers. Design work and implementation for the new centres, peer call-back service and new website, is expected to begin early 2022.