Showcasing: Trauma informed care in Wagga Wagga
Trauma informed care in Wagga Wagga showcases Dr Jonathan Ho, a practicing GP from Wagga Wagga, NSW. Jonathan has a special interest in mental health, and is currently working in youth mental health (headspace, Wagga Wagga); adult mental health (LikeMind, Wagga Wagga) and Indigenous health (Riverina Medical & Dental Aboriginal Cooperation).
Living Well domain
- Better responses
- Right type of care
- Getting in earlier
- Making it local
More information will be uploaded shortly.
Showcasing: The Kempsey Peer Worker Program
The Kempsey Peer Worker Program is a partnership between the Mid North Coast Local Health District and Family and Community Services (now known as the Department of Communities and Justice).
Living Well domain
- Better responses
- Putting people first
Showcasing: Peer Worker Networks in South Eastern NSW
South Eastern NSW
The South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network (PHN) leads this initiative in partnership with Illawarra Shoalhaven Partners in Recovery, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Grand Pacific Health, Wellways, Flourish Australia, NEAMI National and One Door Mental Health.
Living Well domain
Peer worker networks in South Eastern NSW meet quarterly, including the Illawarra Shoalhaven Peer Workers Network, the South Coast Peer Worker Network and the Southern Tablelands Peer Worker Network. These networks provide professional peer workers with the opportunity to share professional knowledge and learning opportunities through a combination of informal support and professional development activities. The program launched in June 2017 and around 75 peer workers – representing both clinicians and those with lived experience - have participated in this initiative.
Mental health peer workers offer unique support for people with lived experience of mental health issues. They play a valued and complementary role as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Peer workers have roles across various parts of the public mental health service from in-patient to community, as well as in community managed organisations (CMOs) and PHN-commissioned services. Peer workers are often required to work alone. The purpose of this network is to provide support that is particularly essential for people working in solo roles and as the only peer worker in a team.
As the peer workforce grows, a network to provide opportunities for connection, professional development, mentoring and co-reflective practice is required.
Peer Worker Networks are built on the emerging evidence of the effectiveness of peer workers in mental health. Studies show that peer workers provide recovery-oriented mental health services that are highly valued by the people who use them and produce outcomes as good as and, in some cases, superior to, services from non–peer professionals.
Also, as peer workers come together in networks it improves connections between public services and CMOs.
The first year’s activities of this program were supported via a $2000 innovation grant through Partners in Recovery (PIR), and subsequently funded by the PHN. Each arm of the initiative is led by a Mental Health Peer Coordinator and an ‘executive’ member from three other services.
Peer worker networks provide a safe environment in which peer workers are given the opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas while also feeling supported.
“The peer worker network allows for a lot more co-reflection and support within my own practice. It gives me the opportunity to take cases that are difficult and challenging and assists me with different strategies of working with them.”
- Program Participant
While the program is new, the benefits may offer an incentive to extend these types of peer worker networks across the state.
For more information, please visit https://www.coordinare.org.au/.
Showcasing: Psychiatry Support Line for GPs
South Eastern NSW
The support line is co-commissioned by eight of the 10 Primary Health Networks (PHN) in New South Wales, led by Coordinare, the South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network (PHN).
Living Well domain
The Psychiatry Support Line is a free specialist advice line exclusively for general practitioners (GPs or doctors) to enhance their mental health expertise. Staffed by psychiatrists, the initiative was launched in July 2018 and is funded through the federal government’s PHN program.
ProCare Mental Health Services was commissioned to run the service following an open tender process. Initially a group of six PHNs, the current co-commissioning PHNs are Coordinare (South Eastern NSW PHN), Sydney North PHN, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN, Murrumbidgee PHN, Western NSW PHN, Nepean Blue Mountains PHN and North Coast PHN.
GPs play a vital part in maintaining community wellness and are often the first health professional that people turn to when seeking support.
In 2006, a national GP psychiatrist support service was launched for GPs, offering specialist guidance regarding the mental health issues of people in their care. GPs submitted enquiries to a psychiatrist via a website and received a comprehensive, evidence-based response within 24 hours.
Advice covered by the service included everything from perinatal, child and adolescent, drug and alcohol to general adult, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and older adult psychiatry to general patient management advice.
GP feedback to the service was very positive. The service ran until late 2013, at which time it was de-funded and GPs no longer had access to this specialized support.
The GP Psychiatry Support Line is a new phone service that provides over 7000 GPs in NSW with easy and free access to specialist advice and support.
This service ensures that people with mental health issues can be cared for by their local GP and are supported to live in the community.
People with lived experience of mental health issues have been involved in all aspects of service development, including sitting on the panel that evaluated the tenders and selected a provider. The chosen provider has people with lived experience in its governance structure. The steering group that oversees the project and monitors performance also has lived experience representation.
The pool of 10 psychiatrists staffing service are supported by reception staff, a project manager and contract manager from the lead PHN.
In addition, the team of psychiatrists regularly produces webinars on topics requested by GPs. Headed by renowned psychiatrist Dr Martin Cohen, a psychiatrist presents a topic they specialise in, followed by Q&A. The webinars are accredited for professional development points by the RACGP, as well as the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. To date, webinars have covered Adult ADHD; Bipolar Disorder; Gender Dysphoria; Mental Health and Depression in Older People; and Anxiety Disorders.
The GP Psychiatry Support Line has supported GPs in its catchment to provide better mental health care.
People can now benefit from enhanced primary mental health care at their local doctor, without having to pay for specialist appointments unless they are absolutely necessary.
GP registrations for the service are growing steadily and those who have utilised the service say they feel less isolated and more supported because of the service.
“I was in a doubt what to do with this patient and I wanted urgent answer on the control of her illness. It is a great service for rural GP like us”. GP from Murrumbidgee PHN.
“Great service which makes me feel less isolated and more supported in my small rural community” GP from South Eastern NSW PHN (Coordinare).
For more information visit www.coordinare.org.au.
Primary and Community Care Services Ltd.
Living Well domain
Plus Social is an innovative program established by Primary and Community Care Services Ltd and funded by the iCare foundation. Plus Social is based on a proven social prescribing model of care and is designed specifically for injured workers who are experiencing mental health issues.
The program provides access to a qualified and experienced Link Worker (typically social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists) through the use of non-medical interventions to improve the wellbeing, quality of life and social connectedness of injured workers.
People who suffer a significant physical injury often also experience mental health issues. Plus Social aims to reduce the severity and impact of mental health issues on a person’s recovery from workplace injury.
The Plus Social program runs for 12-weeks and works alongside the physical health care that injured workers receive from their General Practitioner and rehabilitation provider. Plus Social is not a rehabilitation program or return to work program and does not replace medical interventions.
The program is available to injured workers who have been unable to return to work or who have returned to work on reduced hours. Those who are eligible to participate can enter the program by referral from a health provider or through a self-referral process by contacting Primary Care and Community Services directly.
Social prescribing is similar to the prescription of medication for illness but instead involves the “prescription” of activities and services to improve wellbeing and quality of life. Social prescribing is a new and emerging framework to link people with long-term health conditions to psychosocial services, with the aim of improving their social wellbeing.
The program uses a co-design approach to support collaboration between services including Northern Sydney PHN, iCare, insurers, rehabilitation providers, financial counselling services, General Practitioners, other health providers and workplaces. This approach has assisted with the uptake of the Plus Social program through supportive workplaces and improved referrals enabling key cross sector partnerships.
International studies have demonstrated the benefits of social prescribing. UK Social prescribing research has shown that social prescribing has decreased the demand for General Practitioner services and has resulted in a 20% decrease in emergency department presentations1. The study also found that social prescribing reduced inpatient admissions by as much as 21% and outpatient specialist appointments by 21%1. Research has also highlighted a reduction in hospital referrals following a social prescribing programs.
Commencing in 2017 Plus Social has provided support to over 300 injured workers and assisted to better support injured workers’ unmet mental health and wellbeing needs. The Plus Social program has been evaluated by Southern Cross University using qualitative and quantitative data to assess the program’s impact and has found:
- A reduction in the number of participant hospitalisations, and significant reduction in the frequency of contact with health services by participants
- Significant improvements on overall emotional state, indicating reduced emotional distress and loneliness and improved health perception and quality of life
- The Plus Social program has lead to significant improvements in work readiness (return to work confidence, ability to work in paid employment, and certificate of capacity hours) and social inclusion/support (frequency of social activities, number of people who could be counted on, and satisfaction with social support) for injured workers involved in the program.
Plus Social is continuing to support the emotional wellbeing of injured workers. iCare is currently working closely with Primary and Community Care Services Ltd to explore the program’s sustainability.
1. Dayson, C. and Bashir, N., 2014. The social and economic impact of the Rotherham Social Prescribing Pilot: main evaluation report.