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New Mental Health Services to support the Hunter, New England and Central Coast residents.

The Hunter, New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (The PHN) has commissioned two new mental health services with the aim of increasing access for vulnerable people.

The first, a telehealth psychiatry service, is targeted at priority population groups including women with perinatal depression, First Nations people, people living in rural and remote areas, people on low income, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and people with a recent suicide attempt or suicidal behaviour/ideation.

The PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis, said the services will mean that people who need to access mental health support would find it easier to do so. “Our annual needs assessment identified a gap within the mental health space, particularly for those in priority groups. The PHN has responded through the commissioning of these two new services which complement our existing range, including headspace and Head to Health among many others.”

“The PHN has commissioned Call to Mind to provide the telehealth psychiatry service across the HNECC region. The aim is to increase access to psychiatry services for people with severe and persistent mental illness who have barriers to accessing a psychiatrist.”

The telehealth service is available to people that reside or work within the HNECC PHN catchment and are aged sixteen years and over.

The second new service is for children up to the age of fifteen, who fall within the priority population groups listed above. The paediatric service will provide up to twelve, face-to-face sessions of psychological counselling, by two providers across the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions, Beam and Uniting.

The PHN Manager of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Leah Morgan said The PHN is working to improve access to services by removing barriers. “There are many vulnerable groups within our community who are not receiving mental health support due to barriers including cost and availability. The cost of a psychology session can leave patients out of pocket more than $100. These new services will be bulk billed to overcome financial barriers and will prioritise vulnerable patients to ensure they receive the treatment they need.”

“In addition to these two new services, GPs are still able to access the GP psychiatry support line for advice on the management of their patients.”

The new services will be available from early July 2022 until 30 June 2023 and there will be no out of pocket expenses for the patient. Patients will require a GP referral. The funding has been provided utilising flood recovery funding from the NSW State Government.

Media enquiries to Rebecca Brennan, Communications and Public Relations Manager 0437 478 138

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