Mainstreaming of Mental Health Services

The mainstreaming policy evolved in the 1980s alongside deinstitutionalisation. Mainstreaming involved transferring the management and delivery of mental health services from psychiatric institutions to the general health sector. 

Before the 1990s, most mental health services in Victoria were delivered through government-operated psychiatric institutions (via the former Department of Health).  In 1992, the Victorian government embraced mainstreaming as policy and implementation continued throughout the 1990s. Management of clinical mental health services were transferred to public hospitals, the old psychiatric institutions were closed, and inpatient units were opened in public hospitals.

Resources made available as institutions closed were allocated to develop and expand community mental health services. By 2000, mainstreaming was complete. Mainstreaming mental health services within the general health sector aimed to improve consumer access to a quality, comprehensive health care service and to prevent people experiencing mental illness being discriminated against or stigmatised.