Authors: Illawarra Institute for Mental Health
Event: 2002 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Bronze
Award category: Specialist Service
Abstract: The aim of the 1800- Mental Health Information and Support Service (1800-MHISS) is to facilitate access to mental health support for consumers, family and friends, and health and allied professionals living in a rural and remote area of New South Wales. The new service commenced operation in the Mid Western Area Health Service in August 1999 and was extended to the Macquarie Area Health Service in December 2000. An evaluation of the service conducted by the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health indicates that the service has been well received by the stakeholder groups surveyed. Service users report the 1800-MHISS was easily accessible, it provided a clear and consistent response to their requests, and they had confidence in the expertise of the mental health professional who answered their call. Emergency Department staff reported that the new service had greatly improved after hours mental health support and had improved continuity of client care while Community Mental Health staff also commented on its contribution to improved client care and contribution to more efficient and effective service delivery. Description of Facility/Organisation: The 1800- Mental Health Information and Support Service was funded by NSW Health in 1999 as a pilot project and is administered by the Mid Western Area Mental Health Service. It serves a population of 320,000 living in a rural and remote area of 175,000 square kilometres. The service is based at Bloomfield Hospital in Orange and operates 24 hours a day seven days a week. It has a staff of five registered mental health nurses who have an average of 14 years postgraduate experience and a part time coordinator. The 1800-MHISS now has a budget of $350,000 provided by the New South Wales Health Department through the Mental Health Enhancement Program. The Budget includes salaries and wages and goods and services. The decision to permanently fund the program was made in 2001/2002 following the positive findings of the external review. The service receives an average of 1117 calls each month of which 60% are from primary consumers. A majority of callers are provided with one or a combination of the following interventions social support (24.4%), counselling (19.8%) and information (12.3%). Other services include the provision of consultation to referring agencies (11.5%). Other services include the provision of consultation to referring agencies (11.5%) and advice to family members (6.2%). Approximately 12.7% of all incoming calls received a formal triage assessment and 12.9% of this group required the activation of an extended hours service.