Mental Health Support | Adjournment & Response

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (19:50): My adjournment matter is directed to the Honourable James Merlino, the Acting Premier, Minister for Education and Minister for Mental Health. This adjournment matter relates to the minister’s portfolio responsibility of mental health. The Andrews Labor government is committed to helping and supporting young Victorians struggling with mental health issues as they deal with the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19. In April 2020 the Victorian government, as part of its coronavirus mental health package, provided $6 million to Orygen to roll out the moderated online social therapy, MOST, platform across state-funded child and adolescent youth mental health services and all Victorian Headspace centres. It is now live in 23 services across the state.

The MOST service was designed by Orygen to blend digital and face-to-face care for young people, providing instant access to online support. While MOST does not replace crucial face-to-face care, it provides complementary treatment and recovery support in an online environment. These expanded mental health services mean the community has the support it needs as it rebuilds and recovers, ensuring young Victorians struggling with their mental health have the support they need now and close to home. The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with a list of services providing moderated online social therapy in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region.


Mr MERLINO (Monbulk—Minister for Education, Minister for Mental Health) (25 June 2021):
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan Region for her question and acknowledge her commitment to ensuring her constituents, especially young Victorians, have access to appropriate and timely mental health and wellbeing supports.
Orygen’s MOST (Moderated Online Social Therapy) is a world-first digital therapy platform designed by and for young people that integrates online therapy and peer support with face-to-face clinical care. MOST connects young people 24 hours a day seven days a week to mental health support. Young people can access MOST from their mobile phone, tablet or computer and instantly connect with tailored therapeutic resources and tools to address stress, anxiety and depression. They can also connect with MOST clinicians, peer workers and career counsellors through the moderated content.
The Andrews Labor Government fast-tracked implementation of MOST as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic mental health package announced in April 2020. We provided $6 million to Orygen to implement MOST across state-funded child and adolescent youth mental health services and all Victorian headspace centres.
The 2021-22 Victorian State Budget invests a record $3.8 billion investment to transform the way mental health and wellbeing support is offered in our state. This investment includes $842 million in mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people and includes funding to continue implementation and expansion of MOST, ensuring that more young Victorians can access the platform when and where they need it.
MOST is currently available in 26 services for young people 15-25 years old, with new tailored content for young people aged 12-14 being piloted. MOST is available in 18 headspace centres and five satellite centres, and eight specialist mental health services.
In the Western Metropolitan Region MOST is available in:
• Sunshine headspace centre
• Werribee headspace centre
• Orygen Specialist Program (Melbourne Health) at Sunshine
By the end of the state-wide rollout in July 2021, 42 mental health services including both headspace and Victorian specialist mental health services will be offered the opportunity to use MOST, including additional sites in the Western Metropolitan Region.
This is an exciting innovation that supports the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System reforms including building a new youth mental health and wellbeing system and improving access to digital technologies.
The MOST platform has the potential to reach thousands of young people each year and the Andrews Labor Government is proud to support this innovation.