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By December 2, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Rob Warriner, Shane Jakupec, Toula Dellis, Paul Martin, Alison Clements

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: new zealand, suicide prevention, services, system

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: Is a “tyranny of commonsense” inhibiting efforts to transform the mental health sector?
Rob Warriner

In the last 10 years or so “transformation” has become one of most commonly utilised words in relation to health services around the world – and particularly in respect of mental health.

“We are on a pathway to transforming New Zealand’s approach to mental wellbeing, building on the agenda set by He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction . The changes underway require us to both build on the strengths of our existing systems and services and to create new and different approaches to supporting mental wellbeing.” Kia Manawanui Aotearoa: Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing. (2021), Forward from Minister of Health

However, the reality of “transformation” applied and in practice, has fallen short. Improvements to an existing model can be called “transformative”; increases in productivity can viewed as a consequence of “a transformation in service delivery”. The recruitment of clinical specialists by non- government services can be referred to as “transformational”.

This presentation will assume and accept the drivers of transformation in New Zealand – and general support for such a transformation. Reflecting briefly using examples of past transformative initiatives, the presentation will explore what might be inhibiting this process in respect of the mental health sector.

The key messages will be that transformation is in fact possible and in fact will be achieved. Transformation can be quite modest in resource, but stunning in outcomes; transformation takes vision, courage and commitment. The common thread of transformation is that it is based in a fundamental commitment / re-commitment to understanding / re-understanding “why” we do what we do; what is our purpose?

LEAD PRESENTATION: Addressing acute distress in Western Sydney: How system integration is delivering improved outcomes for people
Shane Jakupec, Toula Dellis

System complexity can make system navigation hard or impossible for people who need support, for families and support networks, and for providers of services. In Penrith, Western Sydney, novel collaborations between state and federally funded programs are delivering system integration that is making a real difference. State funded services that address acute mental distress are working closely with federally/PHN funded services - Neami delivered Head to Health and Safe Haven. After a sceptical start, intraorgansiational relationships are leading to more coherent and navigable system; people are getting the timely care and support they need without needing to jump through hoops. Providers too, are wasting less time navigating frustrating system blocks or having to advocate to get people access to services they need.
This presentation will map out and describe the services and their journey towards integration. Emergent outcomes from providers and service users will be shared. This integration effort provides hope for what is possible when community and individual need is centred and a system comes together around the need, rather than expecting people and providers to navigate a fractured and complex service system.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Planning in Complexity: reflections on joint regional planning and co-commissioning
Paul Martin

Under the 5th National Plan, PHNs and LHNs/HHSs were tasked with developing joint regional plans for mental health and suicide prevention. The regional plan for Brisbane North 'Planning for Wellbeing' was launched in 2018 and refreshed in 2020. This presentation will reflect on the challenges and successes of developing and then implementing joint regional plans, given the complexity of the mental health policy, funding and service system. It will also suggest some next steps for enhanced joint regional planning and co-commissioning under the National Agreement.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Suicide Aware Systems: towards an evidenced based model for workplace postvention.
Alison Clements

Over half of the Australian population - approximately 15 million people - are family, friends or colleagues of someone who has died by suicide.

Loss by suicide has the potential to produce complex grief; impaired social functioning, poor mental and physical health outcomes and increased risk of suicidal ideation and behaviour.

Those working with at-risk populations will have a comparatively increased exposure to suicide and its impact. This has been well established in research with heath care and first responder staff. There are also a range of equally vulnerable and currently overlooked community facing staff such as those in funeral work, child protection, financial services and counselling, peer and disability work.

Despite this, Australian workplaces and organisations give little attention to suicide postvention, the planned and coordinated practices which can mediate the impact of suicide bereavement and reduce risk for both staff and clients.

To address this need, Neami National is developing an evidenced based workplace postvention program. The program brings best practice postvention together with the lived experience of employers, staff and clients to develop bespoke postvention tools. The program is informed by a public health approach to postvention. The program model was designed and evaluated through an academic Case Study with Funeral Staff.

This presentation will provide an overview of the program model, pilot projects and evidence base to date.

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