Health Voices Survey Results | June 2023

Mental health and alcohol and other drugs

Health Voices were asked to share their ideas, needs and experiences of mental health and alcohol and other drugs in June 2023. This feedback is helping to build on the work of our 2022-2025 Health Needs Assessment.


A range of Health Voices responded to this survey, including people who:

Housing security

Most respondents either owned their home outright (51%) or with a mortgage (43%) and 20% felt less or much less secure in their housing situation than they did a year ago.

Accessing services

In the last five years, 44% of people had discussed mental health or alcohol and/or other drugs concerns with their GP and 28% accessed or had been referred to services.

Relationships with alcohol

Sixty-eight per cent of people who responded to the survey, considered their community to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, while 81% considered themselves to have a somewhat or very healthy relationship with alcohol.

Mental health

On a scale of 1-10, people’s current state of mental health was quite good.

Service needs

When people were asked if they thought that their community was supported with enough mental health and or/alcohol and other drugs services, they responded that they were:

The top four changes that people said could be made to community mental health support options were, more:

  1. in-person options (62.71%)
  2. services in rural areas (49.15%)
  3. after hours options, including on weekends (45.76%)
  4. services for young people aged 12-25 years (28.81%).

Some of the supporting comments included:

The top four changes that people said could be made to community alcohol and other drug support options were, more:

  1. in-person options (62.71%)
  2. services in rural areas (57.63%)
  3. after hours options, including on weekends (50.85%)
  4. easier access to existing services; having them come to my area; outreach services to my home; or transport (42.37%).

Some of the supporting comments included:

Final comments:

  • “There needs to better education of school age people regarding bad outcomes of alcohol, as well as parents leading by example.”
  • “Having a regional service system with services based in Bendigo does not provide a good enough service for people in our area.”
  • “Head to Health is brilliant.”
  • “Sometimes these issues are hidden and only become visible when there is a dramatic incident e.g. road accident, domestic violence, street assault, assault on first responder and theft.”
  • “I believe there just needs to be more funding, more services. More community development programs that connect people with each other.”
  • “More education for those people, parents and carers trying to support a loved one with drug or alcohol addictions.”
  • “It’s a disaster. We have the highest drug and alcohol use and domestic violence in the state and we are not supported enough.”
  • “Mental health services are severely deficient. I waited six months to be seen by a psychologist.”
  • “More access to 12 step programs in rural areas.”
  • “We need more secure housing.”
  • “My community has been through many battles and emergencies - flood, drought, financial. Mental health is low but many choose to ignore it.”
  • “We need education around how a service operates, so people are clear about what each organisation offers.”
  • “Raise great kids through first 1000 days; more attention to life skills for children to grow into responsible, caring adults, so as to leave a legacy rather than bandaids. More early intervention services for children, mental health and AOD before it becomes a crises/plague.”
  • “Something has to change regarding the local attitude to AOD use socially. ICE still a really big issue.”
  • “Alcoholism is leading to homelessness in our area. I think this is related to not having to any local activities to do, such as a Men’s Shed.”


If you need support

If this survey or its results has raised any concerns for you, help is available.

Speak to your local GP, call Head to Health on 1800 595 212 (8.30am to 5pm, weekdays) for mental health support or the Australian Community Support Organisation on 1300 022 760 (9am-5pm weekdays) for alcohol and other drugs support.

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