Mind Australia will continue to support people in the Gippsland region experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns thanks to a funding extension for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs in Cowes, Traralgon and Wonthaggi. 

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, first funded by the Victorian government in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, act as a ‘front door’ service to the mental health system to provide people with faster access to support.

The Hubs are available to Victorians of all ages who have any mental health or wellbeing concerns.

“The Hubs are making a real difference in the community, and are removing a lot of the barriers to a very complex system,” Mind Hubs Service Manager Rebecca Matheson Omondi said.

“People can self-refer and there is no eligibility criteria. You don’t need a referral from your GP – you can just ring up and be connected to a Mind support worker.”

Since the Gippsland Hubs opened, Mind mental health practitioners have provided more than 1,000 hours of support to more than 50 people experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns.

The Gippsland Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, now funded until at least June 2023, support people across the Baw Baw, Bass Coast, East Gippsland, South Gippsland and Wellington shires, as well as the City of Latrobe.

Research from Mind shows the Hubs are helping people reduce psychological distress and feel significantly less sad and nervous.

Ms Matheson Omondi said Hub staff are helping people in the Gippsland region who are struggling with their mental health for a variety of reasons, including housing insecurity and cost of living pressures - including financial stress and inability to purchase food. 

Staff have also been supporting students during the school holidays who are currently unable to access school-based welfare teams.

Mind-managed Hubs provide support over the phone, or face-to-face in the community and at operational hubs, in line with client preferences.

Mind Australia CEO Gill Callister said the Victorian government is to be commended for recognising the value of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs in providing the community with fast and flexible support.

“Accessible community-based support like this can make all the difference in helping people address problems before they reach crisis point and hospitalisation,” Ms Callister said.

Mind is the largest service provider of the Hubs, managing 13 of the 30 Hubs across Victoria.

Find out more about the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs or call 1300 375 330.

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.