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Thousands of individuals benefit from federally funded Mental Health treatments across the Hunter, New England, Central Coast regions.

More than 5,000 individuals across the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions have received federally funded mental health treatment through programs designed and commissioned by the Primary Health Network (the PHN). Throughout the current 22-23 financial year this has already equated to 16,475 sessions for both adult and children’s programs.

The PHN’s annual health needs assessment identifies gaps and areas of increasing need within the region’s services. The PHN actively addresses these through the allocation of funding and commissioning of appropriate providers to facilitate programs.

Richard Nankervis, CEO of the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network believes the PHN has become very good at what they do. “When our needs assessment identifies gaps in services, we swiftly determine the best way to provide care to the cohort in need, and through a robust tender process, commission organisations to provide these services.”

“The number of individuals receiving the mental health assistance they need is a testament to this model of care. I thank all PHN staff and our commissioned service providers for the work they do in providing the highest quality primary care to our community.”

The Primary Mental Health for Children program was introduced in 2022 following an identified gap for children in priority groups. The PHN commissioned the dedicated paediatric service, increasing timeliness and providing children with access to clinicians that specialise in working with children and the complexities children face. In the first two quarters of the financial year, 193 children were seen over 340 sessions.

Head to Health was commissioned as a service available to anyone within the Hunter New England Central Coast region, including children, young people and older adults, who may be experiencing distress or who’s mental health is suffering. Individuals can visit a Head to Health hub or phone 1800 595 212 between 8:30am and 5:00 pm to receive assistance. The Head to Health service, delivered by Beam Health, has been instrumental in bridging the gap for many individuals on waitlists for other mental health services with over 1000 sessions being provided this financial year to date.

The PHN established the Call to Mind Telepsychiatry service to provide telepsychiatry sessions for people with severe and persistent mental illness who have barriers to accessing a psychiatrist. The telepsychiatry sessions enhance the local care provided by GPs by allowing clients to be safely managed in primary care services.

Other generalised psychology services across the region, commissioned by the PHN, have reduced waitlists, and provided thousands of individuals with the mental health support they need.

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