Mental health

Mental health is a significant issue for people living in South Eastern NSW. For more details information about the mental health needs in our region please refer to our Needs Assessment.

Regional strategy and stepped care approach

We have undertaken a comprehensive review of mental health and suicide prevention services across the region. This included consulting with consumers and carers as well as service providers as part of this process.

Amongst other things, consumers and carers told us that:

  • it has been difficult to access services when and where they are needed most
  • services do not take into account my specific needs
  • it is difficult to navigate the system, it’s too fragmented

This information led to the development of mental health and suicide prevention commissioning plan and informed our Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy which we are in the process of developing. This strategy will set out the actions to undertake with our partners at all levels, to address the agreed priorities.

As part of this work, COORDINARE has developed a person-centred stepped care approach. The approach involves a range of primary mental health options for people who have no impact on their quality of life to those who have significant impact on their quality of life. It has a range of service types fitting into each ‘step’, making the best use of available workforce and technology, and reflecting the needs of the South Eastern NSW region as per local population need from the needs assessment and analysis.

To access a list of eMental Health resources click here.

Mental health commissioning

Moving towards a stepped care approach is a process that will happen over time. With each round of commissioning, we will bring about change to the primary mental health service system, better aligning services with consumer need as we implement a stepped care approach.

2017-18 will be the first year of doing things differently for primary mental health services in South Eastern NSW. Our approach to commissioning here is specifically targeted to those at greatest risk of poor health outcomes and complementing existing mainstream services.

Our recent procurement process invited suitably qualified and experienced organisations to apply to provide psychological therapies, support for complex mental health needs, and community-based suicide prevention - Aftercare for people who live in South Eastern NSW.

The following two organisations will be funded by COORDINARE from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 to provide psychological therapies:

  • Grand Pacific Health will provide individually tailored, flexible psychological therapies primarily through face to face consultations across the entire South Easter NSW region
  • Royal Far West will compliment this service by providing telehealth mental health services to children aged 0 – 15 years and their families in Southern NSW

Specific information regarding the referral processes will be documented and made available on the HealthPathways websites shortly. In the meantime, here is some additional information about each of the providers.

Royal Far West

Royal Far West is a specialist provider of multi-disciplinary child development services dedicated to rural children and their families, and a national leader in the provision of mental health and allied health services via technology. They support children with a range of developmental, behavioural and mental health difficulties, from early intervention to intensive support for children with complex developmental issues and/or from complex family backgrounds.

This new service for Southern NSW provides a tele-mental health model using telecare. Telecare helps to effectively support rural children and families, particularly for those in isolated locations, where there are workforce shortages, or a lack of available, affordable or effective services.

Referral into the service will be document in HealthPathways however this can be through self-referral, pre-schools/schools, Local Health District or general practice.

Children and their families who are eligible can be referred in to one of three streams:

  1. Psychology clinic: one-on-one child and family-based psychological intervention via telecare with individual psychologists with session numbers based on their individual needs (up to 12 sessions depending upon individual needs)
  2. Structured programs: one-on-one or group-based structured programs with children and parents delivered via telecare by social workers and clinical psychologists focusing on specific mental health presentations including conduct disorders and anxiety (up to 5 sessions of 45 minutes each depending on individual needs)
  3. Multi-disciplinary support: an early intervention program delivered by speech therapists and occupational therapists via telecare to treat underlying factors influencing mental health (up to 5 sessions of 45 minutes each depending on individual needs)

For all streams, clinicians have access to consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist for specialist advice and/or second opinion.

Where a child and their family are ineligible, they will be supported to access an appropriate resource or service which may include self-help or online resources or to a psychiatrist or paediatrician.

Grand Pacific Health (GPH)

Grand Pacific Health is one of the main primary care clinical service providers in the South Eastern NSW region. They aim to improve health outcomes for the South Eastern NSW community by addressing gaps in primary health care services.

They provide a wide range of services across a large geographical area, from Southern Sydney to the Victorian border and west to the Goulburn Mulwaree region. GPH operates six main service hubs located in Wollongong, Nowra, Moruya, Bega, Queanbeyan and Goulburn as well as providing services at multiple outreach sites in rural and remote areas.

The new service for the South Eastern NSW region will be for those people who are not able to access other services such as private psychologists. Specific populations where this service will be focusing includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families in the perinatal period, suicide prevention, children and their families, people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, and culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

The service will be primarily accessed by obtaining a mental health treatment plan through General Practitioners. While this is the ideal, there is also flexibility for those people unable to obtain an appointment with their GP in a timely manner or unwilling to attend a GP, to be linked in to GPH with a clinician and then facilitation by the clinician to General Practice.

The service will be individually tailored to meet the needs of the person, so there is no fixed session number. For example, one person may need two sessions while another person may need 10. There is the ability to refer people to the right service at the right time in the right place. This service will link neatly with a range of other interventions including low intensity services such as online therapies, or refer to specialist mental health services should this be required.

GPH will offer the following programs (referral processes will be documented and made available on the HealthPathways websites shortly):

  • Perinatal and Early Childhood Program: Accepts referrals for mothers and fathers experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues from the time of child’s conception until the child is 5 years or starting school. Attachment informed therapies are offered in both group and individual formats. This service is offered from Wollongong hub only.
  • Attachment Trauma Treatment (ATT) – Adult: A medium term treatment program for adults who have survived repeated trauma in childhood perpetrated by an attachment figure, usually child abuse, and neglect or domestic violence. The adult consumer must have a mental health issue and significant difficulties in relationships. This service is not for Personality Disorder presentations or for those with one-off traumatic events. Consumers must be ready to commit to treatment at the time of referral and cannot be at a level of risk better managed by other services. The service is offered from the Queanbeyan and Goulburn hubs.
  • Attachment Trauma Treatment (ATT) – Child and Family: A medium term treatment program for children (and their families) who have or are at risk of developing a mental health issue due to an experience of domestic violence, physical abuse or neglect. Referrals are not accepted for children for whom a history of sexual assault is the main presenting issue, families who have current serious safety issues and those for whom final custody orders have not been granted. This service is open to biological and kinship carers but not foster care placements. Individual and group therapies for children, parents and families together are offered. This service is available at the Wollongong hub only.
  • Suicide Prevention – Risk De-escalation Program: A six week, assessment, planning and distress tolerance service for those at mild to moderate of suicide and self-harm. This services is available at Wollongong, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Moruya and Bega as well as several outreach locations to the following populations who have shown to have increased suicide risk:
    • Youth (12 - 24years of age)
    • LGBTI
    • ATSI (time period of 3 months)
    • CALD
    • Rural
  • Rural Mental Health Program: Provides short-term intervention for mild-moderate mental health issues in people 16 years and over. A variety of evidence-based therapies are offered in group and individual formats. This service is available at Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Moruya and Bega as well as several outreach locations.

COORDINARE will fund two organisations to provide support for complex mental health needs from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018:

  • Grand Pacific Health will provide mental health nursing support and peer worker support to people with complex mental health needs for the remainder of the Illawarra and Southern NSW region
  • Shoalhaven Family Medical Centres will provide mental health nursing support to people with complex mental health needs through all general practices in the Shoalhaven region

Specific information regarding the referral processes will be documented and made available on the HealthPathways websites shortly. In the meantime, here is some additional information about each of the providers.

Grand Pacific Health

Grand Pacific Health is one of the main primary care clinical service providers in the South Eastern NSW region. They aim to improve health outcomes for the South Eastern NSW community by addressing gaps in primary health care services.

Grand Pacific Health will provide a free mental health program for people with enduring mental ill-health and complex needs who live in the Illawarra or Southern NSW.

Services will be provided based on identified needs and will be flexible to ensure the ability to offer a variety of interventions and intensities of service dependent on needs, personal choice and control.  This service will be provided by Credentialed Mental Health Nurses in partnership with Mental Health Recovery Mentors (Peer Workers) and other service providers and supports.

Core services provided will include:

  • comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment
  • collaborative person centred recovery planning and goal setting
  • care coordination.

Service provision may also include:

  • wellness self-management strategies
  • referrals and linkages to clinical and psychosocial supports
  • medication monitoring
  • peer recovery mentoring.

The goals of the complex care service are to:

  • focus on building recovery
  • promote skill building in self-management including self-advocacy and wellness self-management
  • improve adherence to prescribed treatment (including medication, health change, social engagement etc.)
  • improve care navigation and coordination
  • increase community supports and
  • reduce hospitalisations

People can be referred by anyone but will generally be referred by a medical officer (GP or Psychiatrist). More details will be made available via HealthPathways.

Shoalhaven Family Medical Centres

Shoalhaven Family Medical Centres’ mission is to provide affordable, accessible and equitable health care of the highest standard encompassing a holistic approach toward preventative health, diagnosis and management of illness, through bulk billing services to the Shoalhaven community.

The new service will be delivered within the entire Shoalhaven region. Referrals will be generated by General Practitioners through the development of a mental health treatment plan. Mental health nurses will provide support and interventions for people able to be supported in primary care with complex mental health needs in the Shoalhaven region.

More details will be made available via HealthPathways.

COORDINARE will fund Grand Pacific Health from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 to provide support and intervention to people presenting to Emergency Department after a suicide attempt through clinical and peer workers in the Southern NSW region. There is a similar service that will be offered in the Illawarra Shoalhaven regions through Ministry of Health (MoH) funding.

This new service will have an establishment phase and be offered by GPH in the Southern NSW region.

All referrals for this program will be through the Local Health District, and this will be documented and made available on the HealthPathways websites shortly.

This service offers to collaborate with consumers and their carers/friends/family to develop an Aftercare Plan after a suicide attempt or for those at ongoing risk of suicide. Trained and clinically supervised Peer Workers will then support consumers in achieving this plan, including linking the person with community, family and service supports. The plan may include linking the person with mental health treatment services but this service is not a treatment service. Each person’s case is reviewed 4 weeks after the planning meeting, after which time, the service may be extended up to 12 weeks. Carers/family/friends are also offered one-off sessions in how they might best support their loved one at this time. The service is offered from Wollongong, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Moruya and Bega hubs.

Specific benefits of new programs are that they provide services for those most in need in our region and includes suicide prevention after care support in the Southern region, enhanced peer workforce, new models of service delivery and more flexible service delivery options.

headspace

The four headspace centres – Wollongong, Nowra, Goulburn and Queanbeyan, will continue as normal. Funding has been guaranteed until 30 June 2018.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will benefit by being able to access all new services in their region.

In addition to this, COORDINARE have contracted the four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in our region (South Coast AMS, Waminda, Illawarra AMS and Katungul) to provide culturally appropriate mental health services and community capacity building for the local community.

Need help?

Your GP should be your first point of contact or there are a range of crisis services you can access if you need urgent care including Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyondblue Support Service (1300 224 636). For other useful helpline services please click here.

Please note: If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.