Earlier this month, there was an extraordinary day for those who work in or rely on the mental health sector in Victoria: the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System handed down its long-awaited final report.
At the historic event, we heard powerful truths from Royal Commission chair Penny Armytage, who said she had been shocked by what she had seen and heard and that Victoria's mental health system had "catastrophically" failed to live up to expectations. We heard the Premier promise "once-in-a-generation reform".
But it was the voices of two people who had experienced the gaps and failures in care and support that resonated most powerfully.
They described a system that was truly broken, that harmed instead of helped, that failed them when they began to be unwell and when they were very ill.
It will come as no surprise to readers to know both came from rural and regional Victoria, where gaps in support are the deepest.
One was a courageous woman in her early 20s, who described how her mental health began to deteriorate in her early teens.
The closest headspace was a 45-minute drive away with no public transport, and she became "more and more ill", ending up in the local emergency department.
With no local or suitable beds available, she ended up "celebrating" her 17th birthday in an adult psychiatric facility in Melbourne, where she stayed for months, isolated from loved ones.
Subsequent hospitalisations followed, without enough follow up care. "I would just hand in my TV remote and go," she said, feeling "abandoned and alone".
"When I asked for help, which in itself was incredibly difficult, there was no help available."
The launch also heard from a fifth-generation farmer from western Victoria, who talked about the night he was admitted to the local emergency department.
Before he got there he had fed his dogs, "knowing my parents would find them in the morning, if things should take a turn for the worse".
He had then driven the 45 minutes to the hospital and met, around midnight, with a member of the psychiatric team.
After talking for a while, he said the only course of treatment available to him was to sign a piece of paper, "agreeing" that he would not harm himself that night.
Then he was discharged, "alone, back onto the street, in the early hours of the morning".
The Royal Commission's final report is as big as the task to reform such a system would suggest: 65 recommendations, 3000 pages, five-volumes. Importantly, the Victorian government has committed to implementing every recommendation.
It promises revolutionary change for Victorians in need of mental health support, addressing system failures through an overhaul of how services are governed, designed and delivered across the state.
It also places consumers, carers and families at the centre - ensuring that the people the system is there to support are integral in how the services are commissioned and managed.
At the heart of the recommendations is the intention that people should have access to comprehensive mental health supports when they need them and close to home.
Chapter 24 is focused on rural and regional Victoria.
More than 50 new adult community mental health and wellbeing centres are to be established across Victoria.
Six locations have already been announced: Benalla, Brimbank, Frankston, Greater Geelong, Latrobe Valley and Whittlesea.
In addition, there will be 22 new adult area mental health services and 13 infant, child and youth mental health services, to be delivered over a five-year period.
Workforce is also a key focus and the report identifies strategies and support to attract mental health workers to rural and regional Victoria to fill crippling workforce shortages and pressures.
At the launch event, we were asked by the farmer to imagine how good it would be for a future patient to walk into any of our healthcare facilities in Victoria, knowing that they could get the best available care in the world and the support they require as an individual.
The amazing thing is that we actually have hope for that future now.
Implemented well, the Royal Commission's recommendations will have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing in Victoria. Undoubtedly, lives will be saved.
Angus Clelland is chief executive of Mental Health Victoria.