The Victorian Psychologists Association (VPA) is alarmed that the Queen Elizabeth Centre, which is located in the Premier’s seat, is shutting down vital mental health and referral services for the most vulnerable women in Melbourne.
The Queen Elizabeth Centre provides vital mental health services, post-natal mental health care and crucial referral services for vulnerable mums and kids. Federal government funding cuts of $123,000 and poor decisions by management at the QEC means a range of services like the Afghan Playgroup, the Sudanese Playgroup, and the MyTime Playgroup have been cut and the Music Therapy program has gone from two days a week to one day a week.
The QEC will have only one psychologist to run what is left of the programs.
The Union is particularly concerned that QEC is slashing much needed services despite having $3 million in investments.
It is outrageous that the QEC is dumping vital mental health services for mum and kids at a time when need for such services is at their highest ever. And to have the Health Minister, Jill Hennessy posing for happy snaps at QEC while essential programs are being gutted is appalling.
The VPA finds it entirely galling that Premier Daniel Andrews talks about protecting vulnerable women and children and yet in his own electorate the QEC is gutting essential mental health services right under his nose.
The QEC has shown no remorse is gutting these services and it looks like the management and its board have stopped caring for the very women and children that QEC was set up to help. On top this the QEC has refused to work with the VPA to find alternative ways of delivering these vital services.
For a not-for-profit organisation the QEC seems to be more interested in investing $3 million rather than delivering services.
If the Premier is actually serious about addressing the mental health needs of vulnerable mothers and children then he must step in to ensure QEC restores its range of programs. At the very least he should be investigating why QEC is putting millions of dollars into investment accounts instead of delivering essential mental health programs.
The QEC’s decision to gut services instead of fighting for their vulnerable clientele is symptomatic of the ongoing poor management and governance of a once great community service.