Family - by choice or birth - is vital for good mental health. Coronavirus has been a stark reminder of this.

Compassionate mental health support embraces the whole of self, whole of family and whole of life.

The current Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to truly transform mental health support for generations to come.

Tandem has a vision for a safe, inclusive, fair and funded Victorian mental health system:

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To make this a reality Tandem needs you to take action.

Take the pledge and join the call for compassionate mental health.

Tandem's recommendations to transform mental health:

  • Guarantee we, the people we support, and staff are physically, culturally, sexually and emotionally safe in Victoria’s mental health system.
  • Provide safe havens for ‘healing’ where staff are supported and given time to sit with those in distress.
  • Mandate comprehensive and transparent performance accountability for all clinical, community and private mental health services, including experience of care from those in distress and family and friends.
  • End traumatising use of seclusion and restraint in the mental health system and hold to account services who use harmful restrictions.
  • Phase out using Police as first responders to mental health call-outs, and expand crisis response teams to integrate professionals trained in mental health, Alcohol & Other Drugs (AOD) and family-inclusive practice such as 'family/carer workers'.
  • Mandate that Police be trained in de-escalation, non-violent communication, trauma-awareness and how to best respond to people and their family and friends experiencing mental health distress.

  • Mandate the ‘core business' of mental health services include active engagement of family and friends as crucial partners in assessment, planning, care, 'relational' recovery, and addressing people's needs in their social environment.
  • Significantly expand early intervention and ongoing supports for family and friends, including psychoeducation, respite and wellbeing supports. We need tailored and accessible supports, so we can look after ourselves as well as continue to care for the people we love.
  • Grow the family/carer workforce and embed family/carer workers as a core part of mental health teams across the state.
  • Substantially invest in 'family/carer navigators' to guide us through the mental health system and help us overcome roadblocks to accessing care.

  • Mandate and secure funding for mental health services to provide training, support and time to staff to deliver tailored, family-inclusive, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support to people with diverse and complex needs.
  • Substantially invest in 'peer-led' specialist supports which are designed and led by family/carer workers from those groups.
  • Offer flexible ways for family and friends to access support including by life stage rather than strict age categories, in a variety of languages, and in cultural and faith groups.
  • Mandate and incentivise employing First Nations and multi-cultural mental health workers, including family/carer workers, in recognition of their valuable cultural knowledge and lived experience.
  • Ensure the mental health system has no wrong door to access support and all families, including on low incomeand in regional and rural Victoria, receive compassionate care.
  • Tailor navigation of the mental health system and ensure open communication and collaboration between services.

  • Substantially expand the Carer Support Fund (CSF) to address the significant financial disadvantage experienced by family and friends in mental health. An extra $1million would support at least another 2000 Victorian families.
  • Urgently invest in both acute and long-term supported housing for people with mental health challenges.
  • Redesign and resource Emergency Departments to provide timely, culturally appropriate and compassionate care to people in mental distress and family and friends.
  • Substantially invest in early intervention, prevention and whole of life mental health support for people with mental health challenges and family and friends.
  • Ensure no matter who we are or where we live we receive compassionate mental health support when, how and for as long as we need it.