What the Royal Commission said

The range of mental health and wellbeing services is expanding in Victoria. These services need a diverse, skilled and multidisciplinary workforce. 

The Royal Commission recommended a range of structural workforce reforms. These reforms aim to attract, train and transition the staff needed for Victoria's mental health services.

These include non-government organisations, community services, and Local, Area and Statewide Mental Health and Wellbeing Services.

What are the opportunities?

The Royal Commission highlighted many systemic issues that affect the workforce. These issues have contributed to workforce shortages. Some of the challenges include:

  • staff burn out
  • the need to develop more pathways into employment
  • poor avenues for career progression
  • workforce stigma
  • a lack of specialist skill development
  • difficulty retaining employees in the workforce.

What are we doing?

Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy

We are developing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy. It is due to be published in 2021.   

The Strategy will help build the workforce we need for sustainable delivery of mental health reforms. It will focus on strategies to address key challenges over the immediate, medium and longer term. This includes workforce supply, wellbeing and capability, as well as developing the regional and rural workforce. 

The Strategy will be revised every two years to support ongoing reform. 

Consultation activities

The Strategy will build on work already progressed. This includes the robust consultation that informed the Royal Commission’s final report. The Department of Health acknowledges the valued contributions of experts and stakeholders including people with lived experience.

Ongoing consultation is occurring to assist with the development of the Strategy.

Alongside a Workforce Forum, a series of workshops are being held with sector representatives and those with lived experience. These cover the areas of workforce supply, capability, wellbeing and rural and regional workforces.

A workforce service survey and personnel survey are being undertaken to gather data about the workforce that will inform the Strategy.

The Strategy builds on the 2021-22 Victorian State Budget $206 million investment to grow the mental health workforce. This means more mental health nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, lived experience workers, and support staff. 

Regional and rural Victoria

The Strategy will address specific regional and rural workforce challenges. The 2021-22 Victorian State Budget provided $11 million for a Rural and Regional Workforce Incentive Scheme. 

The scheme will help attract and retain more mental health professionals in rural and regional communities. This is a key focus of Recommendation 39 and Recommendation 40 of the Royal Commission's Final Report.