S61: Transforming Psychosocial Support Services in the Community

Go back to Resource Library
By September 12, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Emma Newton, Simon Jones, Stuart Wilson, Lynda Watts, Peter Warden

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Transforming Psychosocial Support Services in the Community

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Simon Jones is a Mental Health and AOD Manager and PhD student at Monash University exploring, “The benefit of spirituality in nature for mental health, wellbeing and recovery for people living with a mental illness”.

Dr Emma Newton is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in clinical service delivery. Her research background includes a focus on early childhood and adolescent development and mental health. Emma has been involved in service re-design of mental health services in acute and more recently primary health and community settings.

Peter Warden- Neami National- Eastern Regional Manager Victoria Peter currently oversees Neami National’s community mental health programs in the Eastern Region of Melbourne. Peter has over 10 years of experience in the community mental health sector. He has worked as a support worker and manager across a variety of programs in Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria.

Stuart Wilson is a social worker who has worked in various programs since 2007, including homeless outreach support, disability employment, and care coordination. For the last 5 years Stuart has worked for Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network in service planning and redesign.

Lynda Watts has been a mental health carer for 16 years and a consultant in mental health since 2010. She is the carer representative for the NDIS Transition Support Project, as well as the Northern Melbourne Partners in Recovery Consumer & Carer Reference Group, with whom she developed an NDIS guide for carers.

2019 presents an extraordinary opportunity to transform psychosocial support services and integrate mental health services in the community. The National Mental Health Commission set an ambitious agenda with its review and recommendations laid out in its 2014 report: “Contributing lives, thriving communities: report of the national review of mental health programmes and services”.

Following the introduction of the NDIS, and the closure of some national mental health programs Partners in Recovery (PIR), PhaMS and Day to Day Living (D2DL) this year, two new psychosocial programs emerge nationally and in Victoria, the National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure and the Early Intervention Psychosocial Support Response respectively.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) play a key role in collaborating with all stakeholders in the community – consumers and carers, clinical and community mental health services, Local Hospital Networks, stepped care providers, GPs, and the NDIA, in shaping the mental health service system to provide the right type of mental health support locally.

In this Symposium, Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network will present three papers in relation to integrating, transitioning and developing mental health services in the community; the challenges we have experienced, successful collaboration and partnerships, reimagining new psychosocial support services, and service delivery on the ground.

1. Towards an integrated mental health service system – working with many moving parts to improve the consumer experience.

This year presents significant challenges for mental health consumers and carers, and service providers. While people living with a mental illness access the NDIS, national mental health programs are closing, at the same time as new psychosocial programs are beginning; and Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) and stepped care providers continue to play their role in the mental health service system. Changes in the mental health system naturally carries anxiety for all stakeholders, especially consumers navigating the system and accessing necessary supports.

However, this changing mental health landscape provides an opportunity to redesign services informed by lived experience, co-design and research; explore new innovations; provide flexible service models based on the unique needs of consumers; and integrate services and partnerships to provide the right type of care at the right time.

As a primary health network, Eastern Melbourne PHN will present our experience of integrating mental health stepped care and psychosocial services - state and federal (programs), LHNs and the NDIS in our community. This includes supporting transition of consumers into new services; providing continuity of support; new service and service system development; collaborating across mental health providers, networks and communities; co-creating consumer pathways and consistent referral and access; and managing safety and risk.

2. Transitioning Partners in Recovery - providing stability through change

The 2018-2019 financial year marks the end of the Partners In Recovery (PIR) program with participants either transitioning to the NDIS or Continuity of Supports (CoS) program, or exiting the program. A successful program providing support facilitation for many years, the end of PIR presents significant uncertainty and anxiety for participants, families, support facilitators and providers alike.

As lead agency for one of the largest PIR programs in Australia, Eastern Melbourne PHN presents our experience of supporting transition of more than 1000 PIR participants. Representing our organisation, PIR providers, staff, consumers and carers, we outline the collective transition experience for all stakeholders: transition planning, supporting people in transition, working in uncertainty and ambiguity, communicating change, and focusing primarily on positive outcomes for consumers.

A key feature of our transition plan is the PIR pilot that provided direct support for PIR participants who have not transitioned to the NDIS. With support facilitation, this pilot provided flexible support based on the needs of participants, informed our new psychosocial support service design, and a measure of stability for PIR staff, providers and consumers.

3. Reimagining a Psychosocial Support Service

Earlier this year Eastern Melbourne PHN commissioned a new psychosocial support service provided by Neami National, funded primarily by the National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure.

In this paper, we present our process of designing a new mental health service informed by lived experience, community consultation and research, and our experience of delivering the new service.

This presentation will outline our unique model and design that provides flexible, time - limited, tiered support within a stepped care approach, where consumers receive practical help, are supported and get connected. With consumer stories and journeys, we present preliminary outcomes of the program: challenges, successes and shared learnings.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Delegates will learn about our experience of transitioning, developing and integrating mental health services in our community.
Learning Objective 2: Delegates will learn how integrated mental health services across the community provide the right support at the right time for consumers in their recovery journey.

Hayes, L., Brophy, L., Harvey, C., Herrman, H., Killackey, E., & Tellez, J. J. (2016). Effective, evidence-based psychosocial interventions suitable for early intervention in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): promoting psychosocial functioning and recovery. Melbourne: The Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population Health & Mind Australia.
Cross, S. P., & Hickie, I. (2017). Transdiagnostic stepped care in mental health. Public Health Res Pract, 27(2), 1.

This resource is only available for subscribers. If you have a subscription, please log in. Otherwise, click here to purchase a subscription.