Annual Conference

TheMHS 2014 S013: Service Systems – Creating an integrated primary mental health platform

By August 27, 2014 No Comments

You can read the abstract for this presentation here.

Mental health service delivery is currently fragmented. This fragmentation has led to inconsistent outcomes and frustration for families and consumers, who often have to navigate these systems for significant parts of their lives.

Melissa O’Shea presented on the collaboration between Barlow Medicare Local, Deakin University and Barlow health to address this fragmentation. This initiative is carried out through co-location, which is both a significant strength and challenge for service integration.

The collaboration forms a holistic approach to addressing the needs of the people who should be at the centre of care. It encompasses people’s meanings and values, keeping the person at the centre of the work.

The programs run by the organisation include:

  • Barwon Health Deakin Psychology Clinic
  • GP Mental Health Nurse Program
  • Clozapine Mental Health Nurse Program
  • Psychiatrist Review
  • Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS)

The main benefit achieved through this approach is that GPs have a better understanding of mental health issues and a deeper connection with their patients due to improved continuity of care. There are supported or “warm” referrals between programs that allow for seamless access and all team members become involved in the person’s treatment plan. Working in this holistic, multidisciplinary way allows for accountability, shared knowledge and thinking reflectively in shared supervision.

However this presents its own challenges. Often groups or teams have their own culture of responsibility and who does what. It was necessary to address this issue and come together to share a clear vision of what everyone was working towards. Creating a common language helped each team member feel involved and responsible for the initiative.

For the future there is a huge emphasis on research, standardised outcome measures, finding community voice, and building trust and transparency. There was also mention of working with Black Dog Insititute and working with online services.