State to close 24-hour mental health helpline

THE state government is shutting down Victoria’s only 24-hour mental health helpline, provoking outrage from mental health providers.

The move is detailed in a leaked departmental email obtained by The Age, which states that the ”decision is based on a government commitment to consolidate investment in the front end of the mental health service system”.

The government said that Victorians who wanted to call the advice line – which handles an estimated 800 calls every month – would be ”directed to an appropriate service” once the service is shut down in March.

The mental health advice line has been running since 2009 and is manned by mental health practitioners, who advise callers about where they should go to get support and treatment.

It was set up by the previous government as part of a multimillion-dollar strategy to improve the state’s struggling mental health system.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/state-to-close-24hour-mental-health-helpline-20120126-1qjrf.html