The predecessor to the Mental Hygiene Branch, the Department of Mental Hygiene, had been located within the Chief Secretary's Department of the Victorian public service. With the proclamation of the Ministry of Health Act 1943 (No.4988), the responsibility for the administration of 'mental hygiene' and 'mental deficiency' was transferred from the Chief Secretary to the Minister for Health.
The Ministry of Health Act 1943 provided for a major reorganisation and amalgamation of the administration of health services in Victoria, establishing the state's first Department of Health. The Mental Hygiene Branch, as a division of this new government department, represented a continuing change in community attitudes towards mental illness and intellectual disability and led to a significant expansion of services for these people.
The Director of Mental Hygiene, as principal officer, formulated mental health policy and was responsible for the administration of all functions provided for by the Mental Hygiene Acts.
In 1962, the Mental Hygiene Branch was reconstituted as the Mental Health Authority, under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605).
The Authority was responsible for policy relating to mental health and control of the Mental Hygiene Branch. Between 1944 and 1978 the Mental Hygiene Branch/Mental Health Authority greatly increased its services to patients and the public with the establishment of several clinics and children's' facilities. It adopted a policy of regionalisation of facilities for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, providing local accommodation in a less institutionalised environment.
20 February 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000545
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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