Pledge for mental health royal commission
A ROYAL commission into mental health has been promised by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews if his government is re-elected.
The Labor leader on Wednesday said that if granted a second term of government, his administration will spend $13.2 million on the commission, with the terms of reference to be established within 100 days of the new parliament.
"We are going to have a royal commission into mental health, it will give us the answers we need, it is going to change lives, it is going to save lives," Mr Andrews told reporters, a month ahead of the November 24 election.
In broad terms, the commission would look at the cost of care, early intervention and workforce of the sector.
Speaking about the impact of mental health on the community, Mr Andrews said Victoria lost 621 lives to suicide last year.
"This year, one in five Victorians will experience mental illness," he said. "When there are Victorians still struggling, and families still suffering, we can do more. We must do more."
With an average of almost nine Australians killing themselves every day, six of which are men, Australia is grappling with its highest suicide rate in a decade.
Despite the billions that are spent on mental health services, the number of suicides increased by 9 per cent from 2016 to 2017.
While much of the focus of suicide prevention has been on those diagnosed with a mental illness, around 80 per cent of male suicides are not linked to any mental health diagnosis according to Glen Poole, Development Officer at the Australian Men's Health Forum and founder of the Stop Male Suicide project.
Instead many men are simply struggling to deal with different types of life crises including relationship breakdown, work issues, financial stress, health and other issues.
He believes the key is to focus on helping men to deal with those life crises.
Gotcha4Life co-founder Gus Worland agreed and said having someone to talk to when times got tough, had helped him to manage stressful or emotional situations in the past.
"You've got to have someone in your life that you can talk to, warts and all," he said. "Someone you can have a discussion with about anything and know that you won't be judged. That person may not have an answer but you will have their heart and their ear, and it will allow you to get stuff off your chest."