Latrobe Health Advocate beginsThe Victorian Minister for Health appointed Jane Anderson as the Latrobe Health Advocate in June 2018.
Mental health identified as a community priority.In her Statement of Intent to the Minister the Latrobe Health Advocate named mental health and wellbeing as a priority based on feedback from Latrobe communities.
On the busesThe Latrobe Health Advocate travelled on local buses to give people in Latrobe the opportunity to have their say. Community members shared their stories, raised concerns and talked about their health and wellbeing aspirations for themselves and Latrobe. Mental health and wellbeing was one of the top five issues raised.
Mental health # 1 issue in 2018Throughout 2018, people talked to the Latrobe Health Advocate about the importance of having mental health support services that are approachable, professional and sympathetic. There was a common concern for the mental health and wellbeing of younger people and a recognition of the importance of the home and school environment.
Conversations about mental health were often associated with social inclusion, housing, NDIS or employment. People expressed their desire to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness through awareness campaigns and community events.
People talked about the connection between employment and good mental health and some of the challenges facing skilled migrants who are looking for work.
Community voice elevated to GovernmentIn January 2018, the Office of the Latrobe Health Advocate participated in 2 roundtable meetings, one in Melbourne and one in Traralgon. These meetings were about the establishment of a Mental Health Royal Commission in Victoria.
Of the the themes that were put forward for consideration, the Latrobe Health Advocate identified the most important to be; Prevention and early intervention; social isolation, depression, anxiety and trauma; accessibility and navigating the mental theal system; preventing suicide; workforce development and retention.
Jane also encouraged Government to consider three additional themes; a health equity model; place and community; social determinants of mental health.