People suffering severe and persistent mental health problems, re-entering the community after inpatient care at Latrobe Regional Hospital, will have access to extra recovery and rehabilitation services through a $500,000 Federal grant.
Gippsland Medicare Local's 'Partners In Recovery' program will be delivered by psychiatric rehabilitation service SNAP Gippsland Inc, and will see dedicated case officers overseeing former inpatients' reintegration into the community.
"These facilitators will work with that client and their family and carers to design a plan that's actually going to meet the needs of that individual, whether it be housing, social connectiveness, education or physical health issues," SNAP Gippsland chief executive Chris McNamara said.
"This is terribly important so mental health patients are not falling through the gap, which has been a real criticism in the past - rehabilitation has been a service system that's been quite patchy, and it's a very difficult system to navigate.
"When you are not doing well it's very hard to seek out the support you need, so this will go a long way to address that."
Ms McNamara said once individual client plans were in place under the PIR program, they would be reviewed on a three-month basis.
The three-year PIR program was announced at SNAP Gippsland's Bairnsdale headquarters on Friday with Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
"As a nation, we have become more aware of the complexity of mental health issues and the need to help people who are suffering," Mr Chester said.
"It's estimated that more than 600 people in Gippsland will deal with severe and persistent mental health issues at some stage over the next three years."
GML chair Dr Nola Maxfield said the program would ensure the multiple health care sectors, services and support structures collaborate and coordinate more effectively to address clients' needs.