Community News

Improving mental health care in the Northern Rivers

Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has launched the Northern NSW Mental Health Integration Plan which he says, will provide better care of people with mental health issues in the Northern Rivers. The plan grew out of the Page Health Leadership Forum that Mr Hogan established soon after his election in 2013 to promote greater collaboration between the various local health service providers. “Mental health is a major issue in the Northern Rivers and this plan is all about making the journey to recovery that much easier by putting those with mental health issues in touch with the right service when they need it,” he said. “We have some wonderful health workers and great services, however, the system is fragmented and the lack of integration of services can lead to poor outcomes for patients. “While I will always argue for more funding to address mental health issues in our community, this plan makes sure that we can get the most out of existing services by putting the patient first. “We need to provide much more integrated care around people’s needs with multi-disciplinary teams of professionals to make the system easy for patients and their families.” The new plan was developed by the North Coast Primary Health Network, Northern NSW Local Health District, Aboriginal Medical Services, Mental Health Forum, Mental Health Inter-agency Meeting and the Northern NSW GP Clinical Council. Some of the suggested actions include: • Implementation of a person-centred approach to service • Increased co-location of services • Develop community education to reduce stigma of mental illness