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Mental Health Services

Our PHN works with clinicians, service providers, people with a lived experience and local communities to commission mental health care that reflects local needs and focuses on safe, effective and quality service.

We commission services that adopt the following system reform platforms:

  • Person centred care funded on the basis of need
  • Thinking nationally, acting locally
  • Delivering services within a stepped care approach
  • Effective early intervention across the lifespan
  • Digital mental health services

Below is more information on the diverse range of mental health services and programs we support and commission:

Aboriginal Mental Health
Aged Care Mental Health Strategy 2020-23

In response to increased Commonwealth funding for Primary Health Networks to commission Mental Health Services for Older Australians, including people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities, we have developed an Aged Care Mental Health Strategy 2020 -2023.

The Strategy was developed to complement existing Mental Health services, while addressing the needs and gaps identified through the Aged Care Mental Health Needs Assessment to implement a suite of services within a stepped care framework that were appropriate for older people. Broad evidence-based interventions will complement existing services to holistically address the mental health and wellbeing of older people, while also supporting workforce capacity.

The stages implementation will involve:

  • Three streams of psychological treatment and support will be available to deliver mild to low interventions. The interventions will begin in the pilot region and be reviewed for potential expansion after the pilot; and
  • Capacity building component.

You can view the range of piloted interventions here

Central Access and Referral service -PRIMA

To develop capacity and improve integration of the Stepped Care Model across our region we have co-designed a Central Access and Referral Service that assesses and facilitates client referrals to appropriate service types.

The stepped care model provides a continuum of services that offer patients a range of interventions based on their clinical presentation and need.

Services available include:

  • Level 1: Self-Management - eg HeadtoHealth website
  • Level 2: Low intensity interventions – eg - MindHealth service
  • Level 3: Moderate intensity services – eg – access to a Psychologist
  • Level 4: High intensity services – eg – access to specialist services
  • Level 5: Acute and Specialist Community Mental Health Services – Tertiary inpatient or community based programs

General Practice remains at the centre of the client’s care-journey. A GP Referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan is still be required to access services. While clients have the option to self-refer, they are directed back to their GP as part of the process to ensure their clinical needs are appropriately addressed.

More details are available on the links below.

GP Psychiatry Support Line

Our PHN funds the GP Psychiatry Support Line which supports GPs to manage clients with mental health concerns appropriately in primary care.

The service is free for GPs and provides consultation and advice from a psychiatrist around a range of queries including: diagnosis; medication management; referral options; risk assessment and safety planning.

More details are available on the providers website.

Low Intensity Mental Health programs

Our PHN promotes the availability of validated self-help and digital mental health services as part of a Stepped Care approach to mental health service provision. In particular we recommend the Head to Health website as the key digital gateway for accessing online, low intensity resources for clinicians and consumers.

For people living and working in our region we have commissioned On the Line to operate MindHealth, a free phone and online counselling service for the people who are feeling the pressures and stresses of everyday life.

Mental Health Regional Plan 2020-2025

We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the Hunter, New England and Central Coast communities as reflected in our existing and future partnerships across a range of health issues. We have a strong commitment to mental health and suicide prevention and recognise the importance of a system-wide approach to better outcomes for individuals and communities.

The Mental Health Regional Plan provides a blueprint for more reliable and integrated mental health services in the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions. In line with the directions of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (5th National Plan)1, this plan acknowledges the need to provide more integrated care, and focus on the fragmentation across the service system to address unmet needs and improve outcomes and experiences of care for individual and communities in our area.

PFAS Exposure: mental health and counselling services
Psychosocial Support Services

The PHN has commissioned psychosocial support services (PSS) to be delivered across our region. The PSS provides non-clinical services to people with severe mental ill health that helps build functional capacity to enable personal recovery. Individual services are designed to be goal-orientated and short-term, and intended to build participants' ability and skills in managing their mental illness, improve their relationships with family and others, and increase social and economic participation.

This PSS program is free of charge and is available to people with severe mental ill health who are not eligible for assistance through the NDIS and are not supported through other psychosocial programs. Referrals can be made through a GP, Community Health, Service Providers, Community Organisations or self-referral (i.e. people can contact the service provider directly).

Details of providers are below.

Psychological Services – Mental Health Services in Primary Care

Our PHN commissions a range of providers across our region to offer efficient and effect evidence based psychological interventions for people with moderate mental illness who are not otherwise able to access services.

Details of these organisations are

Question, Persuade and Refer - QPR training

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) is online, evidence-based suicide prevention training. The program takes around one hour to complete and provides participants with:

  • knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal
  • confidence to talk to them about suicidal thoughts
  • connect them with professional care

Click here for more details on how to access the training for free.

Suicide Prevention
Youth Mental Health services
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