MENTAL HEALTH: A new report reveals around 25 per cent of mental health patients presenting to emergency departments are in the 15 to 24 years age group.
MENTAL HEALTH: A new report reveals around 25 per cent of mental health patients presenting to emergency departments are in the 15 to 24 years age group. John Gass

How does our health district compare for mental health?

NEW data reveals how the Northern NSW Local Health District is performing compared to the rest of the state.

The Bureau of Health Information's Mental Health Care in Focus report reveals that across Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD), 72 per cent of patients with mental health related issues started treatment within the clinically recommended time-frame in 2017-18.

It found nearly one in 12 people in NSW received mental health services from general practitioners in 2017-18, with about one-quarter of mental health-related presentations to emergency departments were among patients were aged 15-24 years.

Northern NSW Local Health District's chief executive Wayne Jones said the data shows that the proportion of patients in the region having positive experiences of mental health care is increasing.

He said in 2018-19, NNSWLHD spent $59 million on operational costs for Mental Health Services across the district.

"In January to March 2019, 80 per cent of respondents to the Your Experience Survey rated their care as very good or excellent,” he said.

"(This) represented a 7.5 per cent increase on the previous three months.”

Mr Jones said over the last 18 months, the NNSWLHD Mental Health service has implemented a number of initiatives to continually improve patient care.

He said in Lismore and Tweed, this included implemented "quarantined” time for nurses to spend on engaging therapeutically with mental health patients.

"We have seen a significant uptake among staff completing therapeutic relationship training, developed by our Nurse Educators and Allied Health staff,” he said.

Mr Jones said refurbishments are almost completed in the Tweed and Lismore Mental Health units, improving the therapeutic environments, with a combined funding of $1.8 million.

The NSW Government has committed to a record workforce boost of 8300, including 5000 nurses and midwives, which will include at least 402 new staff for Northern NSW LHD, including 282 nurses and midwives, 32 doctors, 38 allied health staff and 50 hospital support staff.

The 2019-20 budget for Northern New South Wales Local Health District is $875 million, this is an increase of $37 million on the previous financial year's annualised budget.



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