Authors: Boyce Felstead, Jane Howey, Karen-Leigh Edward, Raju Lakshmana, Rhonda Nelson-Hearity and Marina Nasso, VIC
Event: 2011 TheMHS Conference
Subject: COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH,COMORBIDITY,PRIMARY CARE
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper describes a physical and emotional health screening and referral process for adult consumers of a community mental health service across the clinical and psychosocial disability rehabilitation support sectors in an Australian public mental health service. Routinely screening the physical health of mental health consumers was regarded as a policy congruent strategy to improve service coordination and integration between the clinical, rehabilitation and community health sectors and to improve health outcomes for participants through increased referral. Consultation with a range of agencies informed a process where an agreed, modified version of a widely used health screening tool was administered by clinical case managers and rehabilitation support workers covering an area mental health service. Data was collected from 177 consumers. Results indicated that there were many areas where the physical and emotional health of mental health consumers was poorer than recent statewide population health survey data.The physical and emotional health in consumers with significant mental health issues is critically poor. The implementation of routine screening and referral processes is considered to be an essential part of comprehensive care, as is the development and maintenance of integrated service relationships between the primary care and mental health sector.