Navigating the mental health system for carers in Victoria

A list of key pathways for carers to help you navigate the mental health system in Victoria.

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Pathways

There are several pathways available in Victoria for carers to navigate the mental health system and access necessary support for themselves and the person they care for. It's worth noting that the mental health system can be complex and navigating it can be challenging. It can be helpful to reach out to organisations like Carer Gateway, Tandem or local mental health support services for guidance and assistance specific to your situation. They can provide you with up-to-date information and help you access the most appropriate support for your needs as a mental health carer in Victoria.

It needs to be noted that following recommendations arising from the Royal Commission in Mental Health Services in Victoria, which were released in 2021, the sector is experiencing considerable change. To find the latest information visit the Department of Health website.

In addition, a new Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 came into effect in September 2023. For more information visit the Department of Health website.

Following are other key pathways you may consider to help you navigate the mental health system in Victoria:

Tandem

Tandem is the Victorian peak body representing family and friends who support people living with mental health issues. Tandem offers information, advocacy and a database of support groups for carers.

Area mental health and wellbeing services and community mental health organisations

Ask to speak with a Carer Peer Worker via your local area mental health and wellbeing services and community mental health organisations.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Connect Centres

Mental Health and Wellbeing Connect Centres will provide practical support for families such as connection with financial supports, peer support and peer education about the caring role and being in relationships with others while looking after our own needs. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Connect centres are now open across 8 Victorian regions including: Gippsland, Hume, Loddon Mallee, South Western, South East (metro), North East (metro), Western (metro) and Grampians.

Carer Gateway

Carer Gateway is a federally funded national online and phone service that provides information, resources and support for carers across Australia. They can connect you with local services and supports specifically tailored to your needs as a mental health carer. 

Mental Health Services

It's important to connect with mental health services in your area, including community mental health clinics, hospitals or private practitioners. They can provide assessments, treatment options and referrals for mental health care. The Mental Health Services Helpline in Victoria can provide information and guidance on available services.

General Practitioner (GP)

Your family doctor or GP can be a good starting point for accessing mental health services, including accessing support for yourself to help you maintain your own mental wellbeing. They can provide you with a Mental Health Treatment Plan which allows you to access psychologists and some allied health professionals under the Better Access Scheme for mental health services.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

If the person you care for has a permanent and significant disability related to their mental health, they may be eligible for support through the NDIS. The NDIS provides funding for disability-related services and supports. The NDIS website has information on eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Acronym list

To help you understand the acronyms used within the mental health system, the Centre for Mental Health Learning (CMHL) have a list of frequently used acronyms.