Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Priority area 1: Social inclusion and recovery

In 2010 Territory Mental Health Services undertook a review of policies, plans and strategies to align services within a recovery framework. This included both government and some non-government services. An NT mental health NGO has commissioned the development of a hand held data system for workers to undertake on the spot recovery based data collection. This tool is being developed further with the ability to show consumers a graphical view of their past and present records and will assist staff in applying recovery approaches with consumers.

The Mental Health Program continued to support the provision of a general practice service catering to the physical needs of clients with severe and persistent mental illness receiving community mental health care. Following the success of the scheme in Darwin this service was extended to Alice Springs.

Collaboration with housing continued to improve in 2010 via a partnership between NGO's and Territory Housing under which housing is made available to NGOs and sublet to consumers aided by support programs from the NGO and psychiatric services from Mental Health Services.

Support to non-government organisations using recreational activities as a pathway to social inclusion, was continued in 2010 with Mental Health Services funding a community support assistant to foster closer ties between clinical services and community based rehabilitation. Top of page

Priority area 2: Prevention and early intervention

The National Perinatal Depression Project implemented in partnership with the Commonwealth is providing training and education for clinicians from primary healthcare service who will provide the screening and initial support for women and their families. Education sessions started in 2010 with more scheduled for 2011. Work commenced on translating the Edinburgh Post-natal Depression Scale into Yolngu and Walpiri to enable effective screening of women speaking these languages. The translated versions will be piloted in two remote communities in the Top End and Central Australia

Funding for additional Child and Adolescent clinicians, enabling provision of regular visiting services and increased support for local primary care and education providers at selected remote communities.

Continuation and expansion of a project to develop and validate culturally specific assessment and treatment planning tools and targeted interventions for Indigenous populations in the Northern Territory in collaboration with the Menzies School of Health Research, Mental Health Services and Beyondblue. Top of page

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

In 2010 the Northern Territory Government provided additional funding to enable establishment of a Territory wide 24 hour mental health telephone triage service. This will enhance after hours telephone access for individuals and referring agencies including emergency services throughout the NT and in increased community response service in Darwin. Building on the new triage service Mental Health Services is restructuring the Darwin service configuration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and enhance continuity of care. Community intake assessments, short-term community treatment and longer-term case management are transitioning to an integrated structure. This work commenced in 2010 and will be finalised in 2011.

Collaborative work with the NT Police continued. A new mental health education program was implemented in 2010 and all new police recruits are now provided with 4 days mental health training. A new on-line refresher training module for all serving officers was also implemented. A new MOU was drafted as a foundation for enhanced joint service provision.

The Northern Territory Government announced commitment to a new 30 bed forensic mental health and behavioural unit and 6 transitional cottage beds. Specifications for the Unit to be built adjacent to a proposed new Prison in Darwin have been completed and detailed design work is underway. Top of page

The Palmerston mental health team moved into the new GP Superclinic enabling closer ties with primary care providers for service provision and training of future generalist and mental health clinicians. Also in the Palmerston area the new perinatal team is located adjacent to a general practice clinic, with entry to the perinatal service is via the GP reception area and facilitating integrated care with the primary health service. Sessional services will also be provided at other primary health centres.

Co-ordination of complex case management across multiple agencies has been enhanced by the Shared Client Case Management Framework and accompanying Practice Guidelines. Practitioners using the shared information system are now able to ascertain the existence of cases within other programs and the Department Children and Families and contact the relevant case manager for information sharing where appropriate. Initial work on legislative reform for enhanced information sharing has commenced.

Building of an additional 5 inpatient beds in Darwin and 6 inpatient beds in Alice Springs commenced in a flexible configuration. These beds will allow separate mental health inpatient care for vulnerable groups and assessment and stabilisation for high risk young people and clients with a cognitive disability in partnership with the Aged and Disability and Children and Families programs. Legislative amendment to support the new service commenced. Top of page

Priority area 4: Quality improvement and innovation

Client forums were held in all regional centres in the Territory in 2010 gathering feedback from clients, carers and service providers of their experiences of mental health care and suggestions for further inclusion and participation in mental health service development.

Interactive talking posters with information in English and 6 Indigenous languages have been developed to enable non literate English speaking consumers and non-English speaking Indigenous consumers to access information on mental health rights and responsibilities. These will be trialled in Central Australia and if successful will be introduced to the Top End.

Installation of new video conferencing equipment commenced in remote clinics. This will enable increased opportunities for assessment, clinical support and mental health training for remote consumers, families and primary health services. It will also enable increased family contact with remote clients admitted to mental health inpatient units in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Alignment and single accreditation of all public mental health services in the NT.

Introduction of a quality and standards review process for mental health NGOs in the NT based on the NGO National Standards for Mental Health Services review process developed by WA.

Commencement of a 12 month Palliative Care in Mental Health Project funded by the Commonwealth, to be completed in 2011. Project outcomes will include implementation of routine mental health screening and development of referral pathways for palliative care patients and improved palliative care for people with severe and persistent mental illness. Top of page

Priority Area 5: Accountability – measuring and reporting progress

The NT continues to actively engage in the national process of information and performance reporting development through the range of working groups and projects. Local client/patient data collection systems continue to be refined to ensure appropriate data standards are maintained and improved to support KPI reporting.

Data management systems are undergoing considerable change to improve the quality and reliability of warehoused data used in report development. This is a large undertaking and has consequences for the timely development and reporting of some KPIs.

Formal reporting of a number of mental health KPIs is routinely provided in the NT Budget Papers and Treasury output monitoring process and also form part of the Department of Health's Annual Report publication. Organisational and sectoral stakeholders are now provided with routine quarterly activity and performance reports based around the national KPIs and is evolving as the technical design and validation of further KPIs come into fruition.