Our commissioning team work tirelessly to commission mental health services of varying intensities to meet the different mental health support needs of all members of our community. This year, we worked with over 130 providers to deliver 56,433 sessions of care to 9,162 clients. In this year’s Your Experience of Service (YES) survey, 94.4% of responding clients rated their experience with the mental health service they had accessed as satisfied or very satisfied.
Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool
This year, the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) was launched by the Commonwealth government to provide a standardised, evidence-based approach to supporting clinicians in identifying the appropriate intensity of mental health service for people. The tool, which recommends five levels of care when information is inputted across eight holistic assessment domains, aims to help referrers find the best level of support for patients. The IAR-DST aims to promote consumer-supported decision-making and develop a shared language about treatment needs across mental health care services.
Primary Mental Health Care Team
WentWest’s Primary Mental Health Care (PMHC) team accept mental health referrals from GPs to connect people to the most appropriate care provider.
Commonwealth Psychosocial Support
Uniting and One Door have been commissioned to run the Commonwealth Psychosocial Support program in Western Sydney to help people with severe and complex mental health concerns build social connections, achieve their educational, employment and financial goals, and live safely and actively within the community.
Symptoms: Joan* presented with symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Pragmatic Social Communication disorder. She was isolated and using alcohol to cope with grief and loss. She’d received no previous support from mental health services.
Support: Joan participated in a service navigation program and was successfully linked to the Country Women’s Association, a local dressmaking group, a gardening group, a local mental health peer-led support group, a yoga group and a psychologist.
Outcome: Joan is now participating in community groups 3-4 days a week, has learnt healthy cooking techniques, secured her tenancy, and has people she regards as friends.
Joan reports these activities directly support her in managing her health needs.
The Way Back
The Way Back (TWB) Support Service offers aftercare support for people who have attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis. Community care coordinators work closely with each individual to help them better manage emotional distress and build support networks and safety plans to support their recovery.
I felt lost until I started receiving support from TWB as they helped me to improve my quality of life…TWB went above and beyond in guiding my recovery journey…The service helped me in managing my suicidal ideation, and how to open up and speak with professionals such as doctors and counsellors…They supported me in multiple areas such as; attending medical appointments, Centrelink, accessing food hampers, support with a Disability Support Pension application, and linking in with a financial counsellor and longer-term psychosocial support… My Care Coordinator was a good worker and did a great job supporting me…she saved my life.
Head to Health
Head to Health programs have been running in Western Sydney since September 2021. Created in response to COVID-19, Head to Health Pop-Up hubs in our region have provided over 7,300 free sessions of mental health support to 632 community members.
The success of our Pop-Up hubs has helped us secure funding for a permanent Head to Health Adult Mental Health Centre in Parramatta. This site has been custom-built and co-designed with community and opened its doors in July 2023.
GP Psychiatry Support Line
In NSW, there are 12.7 psychiatrists per 100,000 people, which is below the national average1. Low numbers of psychiatrists can make it hard for community members to access timely support, so this year, we commissioned the GP Psychiatry Support Line to connect local GPs directly to psychiatrists to pass on expert support, knowledge and treatment advice. This model of care, which has now been trialled by multiple NSW PHNs with great success, will now be run as a national service.
* Name changed to protect this person's identity.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021), Mental Health Services in Australia¸ available at: aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia/report-contents/mental-health-workforce