Maria Potiriadis, University of Melbourne, Steve Mann and the Link-me team
Maria Potiriadis, University of Melbourne, Steve Mann and the Link-me team NCPHN

Coffs trial site for new mental health care approach

A NEW approach to mental health care is being trialled in selected general practices in Coffs Harbour.

The approach, being led by North Coast Primary Health Network, assesses mental health care needs, and provides more intensive support to patients.

According to NCPHN, the initial feedback indicates patients are benefiting from the additional services.

Patients waiting to see their GP are being asked to complete a short mental health and wellbeing survey on an iPad.

The survey is completely voluntary and patients identifying mental health concerns are invited to take part in the Link-me trial.

Support to patients with complex mental health needs is provided by a Care Navigator who is based in the general practice and collaborates with the patient's GP.

The Care Navigator also works directly with the patient to help them identify what they would like to improve and link them to relevant psychosocial and healthcare services.

Currently, 70 people in Coffs Harbour have been offered Care Navigation.

NCPHN Director Integration Mid North Coast, Steve Mann, said the PHN had been fortunate to be one of only three areas in Australia involved in this key area of national research.

"The participating 'Link-Me' general practices and their patients with complex mental health needs have demonstrated a strong commitment to innovation over the last six months and we appreciate their outstanding efforts.

"We are confident these kinds of research opportunities will enable our GPs, families and carers in our region understand the best use of the limited number of health professionals we have available, as well as how the system might more collaboratively support these vulnerable community members based on what is proven to help individuals on their journey to recovery.”

Link-me is a randomised controlled trial. It's a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the NCPHN and is funded by the Department of Health.

The trial ends on December 30 and participants will be surveyed at regular intervals in 2019 to measure whether there is an improvement in their mental health condition.

If you need mental health support, see your GP, visit the beyondblue website www.beyondblue.org.au or phone the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.



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