There are a range of specialist mental health services that are specifically targeted to Victorians with severe and complex illnesses that are offered in a smaller number of health services and support the needs of a broader area catchment or the state. These include:

Eating disorder services

Eating disorder services are delivered by the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne Health, Austin Health and Monash Health. Services include intensive community-based treatment models for children, young people and adults with eating disorders, and their families, in addition to specialist beds. 

Personality disorder service

A personality disorder service (Spectrum based at Eastern Health) works with local area-based clinical services to provide treatment for 16–64 year olds with a personality disorder, focusing on people who are at risk from serious self-harm or suicide and who have complex needs. Spectrum receives referrals from area-based clinical services and primary health providers such as GPs or private psychiatrists. 

Parent and infant mental health services

Parent and Infant mental health services (previously Mother and Baby Units) provide support for parents experiencing severe mental illness in the antenatal or postnatal period. Six health services have specialist parent and infant units that provide a residential setting for psychiatric treatment, assessment and support for parents experiencing severe mental illness and their infants aged up to 12 months. The units are located in the Austin, Bendigo, Ballarat, La Trobe, Mercy, Monash.

Brain disorder service

Brain disorder service, located at Austin Health, is for people with acquired brain injury or neurogenerative conditions with associated psychiatric conditions. Services include inpatient, residential and community programs, outreach services and secondary consultation. 

Statewide specialist neuropsychiatry service

A statewide specialist neuropsychiatry service specialises in mental illnesses associated with disorders of the nervous system. The service is located at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (Melbourne Health). 

The Victorian Dual Disability Service

The Victorian Dual Disability Service is located at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and works with specialist mental health services across Victoria to assess, treat and support people with a dual disability. A person with a dual disability has an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder, as well as a mental illness. 

Dual diagnosis services

Dual diagnosis services aim to improve treatment outcomes for individuals who have co-existing mental health and substance use issues. Services include education and training for Area Mental Health Services, drug and alcohol and MHCSS staff, support to organisations to develop dual diagnosis capabilities, and clinical consultations in collaboration with primary case managers. The service is auspice by Melbourne Health, St Vincent’s, Eastern Health and Monash Health.

Aboriginal mental health services

Aboriginal mental health services aim to improve access and the cultural appropriateness of services provided to Aboriginal people. Koori mental health liaison officers are based in rural/ regional mental health services and provide culturally appropriate support and services. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has five specialist Aboriginal beds in the mental health acute inpatient unit that are managed with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Family Counselling Service. 

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health supports area-based clinical services and MHCSS to work with consumers, carers and communities from diverse cultural backgrounds. It is a nonclinical unit administered by St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and provides education and training, clinician support through an external enquiries service, consultation and service development and research. 

Torture and trauma counselling

Torture and trauma counselling is provided by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (‘Foundation House’). Victorian adults and children who have experienced torture, persecution or war-related trauma prior to arrival in Australia. Foundation House receives direct referrals to its services and also works to improve the skills and competency of healthcare services providing other treatment and support to refugees. 

Other programs

There are a range of other programs provided by health services. Recent programs include:

Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program

Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program - mental health professionals provide one-on-one support to people who have attempted suicide and make sure they get the support they need to recover. Current sites: Albury Wodonga Health; St Vincent’s Hospital; Maroondah Health; Barwon Health; Peninsula Health; Alfred Health; Latrobe Regional Hospital; Sunshine Hospital; Casey Hospital; Ballarat Health Service including Horsham, Werribee Mercy Health; and Bendigo Health Service including Mildura.

Mental health and AOD Hubs

Mental health and AOD Hubs - people presenting at Emergency Departments with acute mental health and AOD issues can be fast tracked to specialist, dedicated care, providing them with the right support sooner and easing pressure on emergency departments. The mental health and AOD hubs will be located at Monash Medical Centre, St Vincent’s, the Royal Melbourne, Geelong, Sunshine and Frankston Hospitals. Operations will commence in April 2019.

The Victorian Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship Program

The Victorian Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship Program - The Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship program is a new workforce strategy that will build a mental health workforce that can provide culturally safe and inclusive mental health care for Aboriginal Victorians. Ten Aboriginal Mental Health Trainees are employed at eight Area Mental Health Service and provided supervised workplace training and clinical placements over three years, while concurrently completing a Bachelor of Science (Aboriginal Mental Health) degree (distance study mode) though Charles Sturt University, NSW. The health services are: Mildura Base Hospital, Bendigo Health, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Peninsula Health, Monash health, Alfred Health, Eastern Health and Forensicare.

Area based services

Area based services, or services that exists in designated health services for a number of catchment areas, include: 

  • Secure extended care units (SECUs)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) inpatient services
  • Parent and Infant Services
  • Transitional Support Units (TSU).