Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Since 2005, there has been significant investment and reform in NSW, through the Interagency Action Plan for Better Mental Health and A New Direction in Mental Health. The focus on reform has been supported by substantial investment of new funding resulting in a $1.231 billion mental health budget in 2010/11, with significant positive results across important emergency, community care and workforce development.

Priority area 1: Social inclusion and recovery

In 2010, the NSW Government continued to improve community and service understanding and attitudes through a sustained and comprehensive stigma reduction strategy with a range of initiatives including as NSW Drought and Climate Change Mental Health Assistance Package and the development of an Anxiety Awareness Education Campaign.

Initiatives such as the Vocational Education Training and Employment (VETE) program, NSW School-link, and 'Got-It – Getting on Track in Time' continued to coordinate the health, education and employment sectors to expand supported education, employment and vocational programs which are linked to mental health programs. VETE and the Resources and Recovery Program continued to provide rehabilitation services to support recovery in the community.

The NSW Government continued to improve coordination between primary care and specialist mental health services in the community to enhance consumer choice and facilitate 'wrap-around' service provision with My Health Record, Physical Health Care of Mental Health Consumers, the Youth Mental Health Service Model and Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People – Community Teams and partnership projects with General Practice NSW (GP NSW)

In 2010, the Housing Accommodation and Support Initiative (HASI) continued to support participation in community life by providing access to secure housing accommodation support and clinical mental health services. In 2010, 1,102 support packages were funded state-wide with high to lower levels of care provided including 229 HASI in the Home places and a 100 place model of care for Aboriginal people. HASI has now been expanded to provide culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal people to participate in community life by providing access to secure housing accommodation support and clinical mental health services. 100 supported places will be progressively rolled out, and the program will be fully operational in 2010/11. Top of page

Priority area 2: Prevention and early intervention

Work with schools, workplaces and communities to deliver programs to improve mental health literacy and enhance resilience continued in 2010 through the NSW School-Link Initiative and the Mental Health First Aid training program.

The NSW Early Psychosis Program and Youth Mental Health Facility at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, aims to improve outcomes for young people who are experiencing psychosis through evidence-based intervention as early as possible.

Families NSW is the NSW Government's overarching strategy to enhance the health and wellbeing of children up to 8 years of age and their families. They key objectives of Families NSW are to help parents build their skills and confidence in parenting and to identify problems early, build communities that support children and families and improve the way agencies work together to make sure families get the services they need including through the Start, Brighter Future Program, & Early Childhood Intervention Coordination Program and Schools as Community Centres initiatives.

A new five year whole of government, whole of community Suicide Prevention Strategy for NSW was launched, with work now underway to implement new actions committed to under the Strategy including a Complementary Aboriginal Action Plan and establishment of the new expert Ministerial Advisory Group. Top of page

In 2010, the NSW Government continued to provide education about mental health and suicide prevention to front line workers through the NSW Police Mental Health Intervention Team Trial and the Mental Health Emergency Care learning and development program. NSW Health and the Ambulance Service are working together on a coordinated approach to the development and implementation of initiatives targeting mental health and suicide prevention in the Ambulance workforce, including activities to increase awareness of mental health issues, build resilience, and foster an environment where it is safe and acceptable to talk about mental health and suicide.

The new NSW Children of Parents with Mental Illness Framework for Mental Health Services was released in March 2010 describes four strategic directions for an integrated approach for Area Mental Health Services in collaboration with NSW Health partners to improve the mental health and well being of children and young people in NSW who have a parent with a mental illness and will promote prevention and early intervention to also provide for a parenting perspective in mental health services and a mental health perspective in parenting and children's services.

The Government's Keep them Safe, a shared approach to child wellbeing response to the 2009 Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services is a commitment to better support families and to protect vulnerable children. It recognises that carer drug and alcohol and mental health issues have been a significant factor in child protection reports and funding has been provided to help address this concern. Whole Family Teams will better address the needs of whole families where carers have mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems and parenting difficulties and there are child protection concerns through specialist assessment and intervention. Top of page

Priority area 3: Service access, coordination and continuity of care

The NSW mental health service planning model (known as Mental Health Clinical Care Prevention Model) is used to estimate need for mental health services amongst populations. The model uses epidemiological, clinical and financial information to estimate future service demand, a national model being implemented through the Mental Health Standing Committee.

The Better Service Delivery program was established to help welfare and community agencies to share information, improve their services to clients and develop a shared understanding of the service system. Since 2001, this program has aimed to improve information sharing and coordination of services across government and non government agencies through the Human Services Network with particular use is made of internet technology. NSW Health is funding GP NSW to undertake three projects which aim to improve the flow of information between primary care providers and clinical services.

The Family and Carer program is the first of its kind in Australia and aims through local NSW health services and the non government sector to enhance the education and training, support and participation of families and carers in the care of people with mental illness. The Connecting with Carers Is Everybody's Business DVD and Handbook has also been distributed to clinicians to enhance everyday practice in working with carers. Area Health Services have also undertaken a broad range of staff training and developed local resources. Carers NSW was funded to develop the Carer Life Course Framework that provides a structure for carers to receive information and supports.

The NSW mental health service planning model (known as Mental Health Clinical Care Prevention Model) is used to estimate need for mental health services amongst populations. The model uses epidemiological, clinical and financial information to estimate future service demand, a national model being implemented through the Mental Health Standing Committee. Top of page

The Better Service Delivery program was established to help welfare and community agencies to share information, improve their services to clients and develop a shared understanding of the service system. Since 2001, this program has aimed to improve information sharing and coordination of services across government and non government agencies through the Human Services Network with particular use is made of internet technology. NSW Health is funding GP NSW to undertake three projects which aim to improve the flow of information between primary care providers and clinical services.

The Recovery and Resource Services Program has been introduced to increase the capacity of NGOs to help people with mental illness connect with their local community through social, leisure and recreational opportunities for people. Such support enables people with a mental illness to maximise their choices, minimise or avoid the trauma of relapse, and in doing so develop a sense of community. The Program integrates and links with existing NSW Health programs, including the Mental Health Rehabilitation Program, HASI and the NSW Family and Carer Mental Health Program.

During 2010 further work was undertaken to revise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Mental Health Emergency Response between NSW Health, the Ambulance Service and NSW Police which aims to improve the co-ordination of emergency mental health response. The MoU is being updated to fully incorporate relevant provisions of the Mental Health Act 2007. The local health services are being consulted to identify declared mental health facilities under the new legislation. A new interagency protocol is in development to clarify roles and responsibilities with regard to inter-hospital transports of mental health patients which will be included in the revised MoU.

The NSW Government is committed to improving linkages and coordination between mental health, alcohol and other drug and primary care services through expanding Early Intervention Services for Youth. The "Whatever Info Guide" for children and adolescents who are experiencing a mental health problem and have been admitted to a paediatric unit or other inpatient setting has been distributed for use in paediatric, mental health and general inpatient settings around NSW. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Discharge and Transition Planning project will develop a child and adolescent discharge planning guidelines for use in all NSW public sector child and adolescent mental health services.

In 2010, the NSW Government continued to better target services and address service gaps through cooperative and innovative service models such as the Youth Mental Health Service Model, the GP Mental Health Education Program and through partnerships projects with General Practice NSW. Top of page

Priority area 4: Quality improvement and innovation

The following range of initiatives are in place in NSW to actively support the recruitment, retention and skill development of the NSW mental health workforce: Mental Health Nursing Scholarships, Mental Health Nurse Connect, Transition Programs for Nurses New to Mental Health, new training networks for trainee psychiatrists, Psychiatric training and the Masters Program in Forensic Mental Health.

NSW Health will continue in 2010/11to lead work in developing a Framework for Consumer, Carer and Community Participation in Mental Health. This will be done in consultation with mental health consumers, their families and carers, and other key stakeholders.

In 2010, NSW Health continued to invest significant funding to support mental health research in NSW such as the Black Dog Institute, Hunter Medical Research Institute and support for mental health Non-Government Organisations, and drug and alcohol Non-Government Organisations, to conduct comorbidity research with other research partners, such as Universities and Area Health Services.

A Mental Health Research Framework was endorsed in March 2010 to improve collaboration and strengthen the research effort across the NSW Health Mental Health Program. NSW Health continues to fund Australia's first Chair in Schizophrenia Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of NSW with the appointment made in May 2009.

Under the Rural Mental Health Emergency and Critical Care Program, a range of innovative service models have been developed in response to the specific challenges and needs of rural and regional areas, including demographic patterns, long travel distances and issues in accessing service. These models are designed to enable smaller rural emergency departments to manage mental health presentations.

Tele-psychiatry increases capacity for people in rural and regional areas to be treated for mental health emergencies in their areas. Tele-psychiatry and video conferencing services are now provided at 65 rural and remote hospitals in the Greater Western and Greater Southern Area Health Services, with over 1900 video mental health emergency assessments completed. Child and Adolescent Psychological Telemedicine Outreach Service (CAPTOS) is the Tele-psychiatry service conducted from the Children's Hospital Westmead that supports rural and remote child and adolescent mental health clinicians across NSW. This service provides between 700 and 900 contacts per annum in tele-psychiatry, tele-supervision and tele-education. Site visits for consultation liaison, supervision and training are also conducted and support the tele-medicine service. Top of page

Priority area 5: Accountability – measuring and reporting progress

NSW has a representative and works with the MHISS to progress national mental health data for reporting progress on Mental Health Reform and contributes to all mandatory national minimum data sets for mental health.

NSW produces a bi-annual report on the National Mental Health services KPI's for Australian Public Mental Health Services, which is made available for relevant stakeholders. Performance measures are collected on all clients of specialist mental health services. NSW was instrumental, alongside Queensland in developing along the APQ6 which measures the COAG Social Inclusion indicator. NSW has a dedicated unit charged with performance analysis and reporting. NSW has also been at the forefront of clinical benchmarking studies especially in the field of non-acute and older people's mental health services.