Posted on 08. Jun, 2012 in News

Ted Baillieu’s decision to close Victoria’s only 24-hour mental health advice line just two months ago has been undermined by the NSW Liberal Government’s recent announcement that it had established the exact same service, Opposition Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Wade Noonan, said today.

The NSW Liberal Government has heralded their new mental health advice line as a ground-breaking initiative, but the reality is that up until March of this year, Victoria had the exact same service available for people suffering from a mental illness, their families and carers.

“This is an embarrassment for the Baillieu Government and demonstrates that mental health services are going backwards in this state,” Mr Noonan said.

“Apparently having a 24-hour advice line staffed by mental health clinicians is deemed ground-breaking in New South Wales, but in Victoria the Baillieu Government shuts down the same service.   “The NSW Minister for Mental Health visited the Victorian Parliament this week, but I doubt that he was able to learn much from his Victorian counterpart.

Mr Noonan said the excuses the Baillieu Government used to try to justify their decision to close the service were nonsense.

“There was no justification for this cut,” he said.

“The Baillieu Government either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care how difficult it can be for people with a mental illness in our community to access appropriate care.”

Data previously available on the Victorian Department of Health’s website indicated that almost one third of the 9500 calls received by the advice line each year were received from regional Victoria.

“If a dedicated mental health advice line service helps a person through their darkest hour of despair and gets them the treatment they need then surely that’s what counts.”

The Victorian mental health advice line was established by the previous Labor Government in 2009 before the Baillieu Government closed operations on 19 March, 2012.

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