New Models in Mental Health
Stepped Care is central to the Australian Government’s mental health reform agenda and will be used by Primary Health Networks (PHN’s) to guide mental health activity. Northern Queensland PHN is committed to achieving an equitable, comprehensive primary health care system driven by community needs. This will be informed by needs based planning and evidence based research. Regional mental health planning and commissioning of services will be founded on a stepped care approach.
What is Stepped Care?
Stepped care is defined as an evidence-based, staged system comprising a hierarchy of interventions from the least to the most intensive, matched to the individuals’ needs. In a stepped care approach, a person presenting to the mental health system is matched to the intervention level that most suits their current need. A person does not have to start at the lowest, least intensive level of intervention in order to progress to the next ‘step”. They enter the system and have their service aligned to their requirements.
The figure below is taken from the Australian Government’s response to the Review of mental health programmes and services (2015) and summarises a stepped care approach in primary mental health care.
“Low Intensity” Services
One component of stepped care is the provision of less intensive programs for people who may be experiencing mild mental health issues, or be ‘at risk’ of developing symptoms due to previous illness and other factors.
In 2016-17 a Digital Gateway for Mental Health will be developed by the Commonwealth Government, providing a single entry point and dedicated telephone line for information about mental health services, and access to on-line mental health programs.
A mix of services will be considered as part of low intensity services, including digital and self-help resources, and low intensity face-to-face services. The following services are currently available on-line and may be suitable:
Head to Health
Wherever you are on your mental health journey, Head to Health (H2H) is here to help you find the information, resources, and services that most suit your needs. Whether you want to improve your overall sense of wellbeing, or you need help with something that is concerning you, or you are helping someone you care about—Head to Health can point you to great online mental health resources.
Head to Health currently contains around 370 mental health services and resources funded by the Australian Government. For many people with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, online mental health resources can be as effective as face-to-face treatment, particularly if there is additional practitioner support. (Source) There are a number of online resources in different formats, to suit your needs and preferences.
Mental Health Apps
A list of mental health and health apps is available on the Mind Health Connect website, which may be useful for personal support if involvement of a professional is not required, or they can be used in conjunction with professional support.
“Moderate Intensity” Services
People experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues will continue to be supported through existing NQPHN funded programs such as ATAPS, MHSRRA and headspace in the 2016-17 year. Find out more information here.
In the 2016-17 financial year, these services will be reviewed with the intention of developing new models that will improve accessibility and equity across the region.
“Severe Intensity” Services
People experiencing severe mental illness will continue to receive support through the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program in 2016-17. Find out more information here.
Future development of services within stepped care for people experiencing severe or complex mental health issues will include coordinated care, and new models will be trialled in some PHN’s in 2016-17.
Stakeholder meetings will be held in the second half of 2016 to begin the local consultation and planning processes to consider and design new directions for Primary Mental Health Care in the Northern Queensland PHN region.
For further information:
Contact the Mental Health Program Coordinator in your region, OR submit an enquiry here
Bernie Triggs | 0499 169 669 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alanah O’Brien | 0499 886 539 | email@example.com
Alison Fairleigh | 0488 767 587 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy McCristal | 0499 887 521 | email@example.com