Lockdown weighing heavy on Victorians’ mental health

Job losses, business closures and social isolation resulting from Labor’s fourth – and now extended – lockdown will worsen the problems in Victoria’s broken mental health system.

Beyond Blue and Headspace both reported a spike in calls as a result of the statewide lockdown declared on May 27.

Victorians have been doing the right thing and listening to public health advice, but Labor’s secrecy and refusal to provide a plan out of lockdown will add to the weight on Victorians’ minds.

Labor’s continued lockdowns have exacerbated already huge gaps in our broken mental health system and led to a significant increase in anxiety and depression symptoms among Victorians.

Before the current lockdown, Victorians were finding it harder and harder to access the critical mental health support they needed.

The 2021-22 State Budget revealed worsening outcomes over the next 12 months – even without further lockdowns.

Last week’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing questioned the worsening results, at a time when enforced isolation due to COVID lockdowns is seeing more and more people seek help.

The State Budget papers show:

  • Labor will savagely cut clinical residential bed days to just 153,574 in 2021-22, a 21 per cent cut from the 185,732 bed days under the Liberal Nationals government in 2014-15,
  • Community bed days have also been cut by Labor, from 73,672 under the Liberal Nationals to just 62,744, a 17 per cent cut, and,
  • Labor has also slashed clinical sub-acute bed days, from 202,459 bed days in 2018-19 to just 186,771 in this year’s budget.

In 2014, Premier Daniel Andrews said about Victoria’s mental health system: “The challenge is about delivering on outcomes and not having a debate about inputs or even the framework”.

The Victoria’s Mental Health Royal Commission made damning findings about a system in crisis.

After all the talk by Labor, Victorians expect a mental health system that meets their needs and expectations, and that provides the care they need when and where they need it.

Instead, Labor’s obsessed with spending billions on its ballooning bureaucracy, while delivering poorer outcomes for Victorians and offering little to overcome seven years of Labor’s neglect for our mental health system.

Victoria is the only state to have a record four lockdowns and all Victorians are paying the price.

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