Throughout 2023, we have been working to improve our services in line with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommendations and the priorities areas identified by the Department of Health.

We recognise that good mental health is not just being free from mental illness. It is the ability to live a full life, acknowledging the impact that social factors including housing, employment and social connection can have on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.  In recognition of this, and demonstrating our commitment to holistic support, we have renamed our services, the “Eastern Health Mental Health and Wellbeing Program”. 


Growing our workforce

To ensure we will can provide what the community requires, we are expanding our workforce and ensuring we attract and keep the best people at Eastern Health.

Throughout 2023, we have seen a 10% growth in our workforce.  This is a fabulous achievement; and further growth is required to ensure we can meet the needs of the community. 

We have expanded our junior workforce program for Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers and Psychologists to bring more people directly into working in Mental Health from university.    

We are trialling a new Mental Health Support Worker role in our older adult inpatient setting.  This role is for people who have completed a TAFE qualification and will provide additional support for people receiving care in our unit.

New buildings to support our staff and provide care to those who need it

To grow our community teams and increase the services we offer, we have established two new community sites where our consumers and their families can to work with our team; Burwood Highway Forest Hill for adults over 26 years and Warrandyte Road, Ringwood for those under 26 years old. 

We are also partnering with our services users, families, supporters and our lived experience and clinical workforces to co-design new community spaces in Box Hill and Ringwood to deliver care and support recovery.  The groups have paid particular attention to ensuring the space is welcoming and inclusive for all. Construction is underway on these sites with anticipated completion early 2025.

Expanded services

Providing care when and where it is needed is our focus. 

  • We have expanded our consultation liaison service to provide care across seven days. This ensures people who are admitted to Eastern Health hospitals for physical health reasons are able to access a specialist mental health and wellbeing assessment when they need it.
  • We established a Wellness in the Home team for older adults. This program supports people to remain at home, rather than requiring an admission to an inpatient unit.
  • We established a second specialist child team providing community assessment and care to children aged 0-12 years and their families in the outer east.
  • We expanded the hours of our Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement program, providing care in the evenings two days per week.   Further expansion to provide care on the weekends is planned.

Lived experience means having a personal experience of mental ill health and recovery, or as a family member or carer with experience supporting a personal living with mental ill-health and recovery.

Embedding the voice of those with lived and living experience is central to the work we have undertaken and is being led by our inaugural Associate Program Director of Lived Experience.  We are working to ensure our services are designed and developed in partnership with people who have experienced our services first hand.   At Eastern Health, we believe in the power of co-design to create person-centered and effective service. Our co-design approach involves collaborating with individuals with lived experience, mental health professionals, and other stakeholders to design and improve services together. It recognises that those who use and deliver services have valuable insights and expertise that can inform the development and delivery of care.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Program has seen a significant expansion of the Lived Experience leadership and workforce to ensure that adults, their families and supporters accessing our service can receive lived experience peer work and support throughout their journey. Lived Experience workforce in the Infant, Child and Youth space will continue to grow in 2024.

Sometimes people come to our service for support with both alcohol and other drugs and mental health concerns. We have worked in partnership with our service users, families, supporters and clinical teams to develop a better way of working in this space.  Our new program embeds clinical and lived experience staff from Turning Point (our Alcohol and Other Drugs service) into two of our acute mental health inpatient units.  Since the program started in August 2023, we have supported over 100 people with the alcohol or drug condition to receive the care they need while in the mental health inpatient unit. 

We have strengthened our partnerships with community agencies to assist individuals to manage their recovery, develop practical life skills for independent living and social connectedness and achieve healthy, functional lives.  In 2023, 290 consumers of our program engaged with the Towards Wellbeing Program, a partnership with EACH.

Yarra Ranges Local Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

The Yarra Ranges Mental Health and Wellbeing Local, based in Lilydale, is the first to be established in the eastern region.  Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals are a service that supports Victorian adults to get mental health and wellbeing treatment, care and support, close to their home.  The service is for anyone aged 26 years and over experiencing mental health or wellbeing concerns, including anyone who is experiencing mental health and substance use concerns at the same time. 

Eastern Health has partnered with Wellways, Inspiro and Oonah to deliver this service which commenced operations in December 2023.    It is anticipated that it will be fully operational mid-2024.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Act

The new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act has important changes for people receiving mental health and wellbeing treatment, care and support and their families, carers and supporters. It offers an opportunity for our team to consider how we put people at the centre of their care.   

We are proud of our achievements in 2023 and are looking forward to ensuring the voice of those with lived and living experience is central to our work in the future.   

For further information, or if you would like to help shape our new service, please email us on [email protected]