Community News

NCPHN provides $300k in Commonwealth funding to improve support for those with mild mental health challenges

North Coast Primary Health Network is delighted to announce that enhanced support for people with mild mental health concerns is now available on the North Coast. A new low intensity mental health service is being funded through a package of $300,000 in Commonwealth funds provided via NCPHN’s mental health and suicide prevention programs. NCPHN has contracted community organisation New Horizons to deliver the new service that links in with the existing Northern NSW Local Health District’s Mental Health Line. The Mental Health Line is staffed by mental health professionals and receives about 1,300 calls per month. Callers are triaged according to the level of care they need. The new Low Intensity Mental Health Service provides a pathway to support that is tailored to meet the needs of people with early signs of depression and/or anxiety. A trained Community Support Worker will provide advice to people via telephone, Skype and online chat, enabling them to access the care they need without leaving their homes or communities. The service is free. Support may include providing information about existing services and resources, including:
  • cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) either face-to-face, by telephone or online
  • pathways to existing local mental health services
  • links to eHealth resources including online counselling and therapy, mental health information websites, online peer support groups, and self-help applications
NCPHN Chair Dr Tony Lembke explained the need for the new service. “Before this service, after someone rang the Mental Health Line there was a gap in care as they waited to get in to see their GP or a community mental health service. Now experienced mental health support workers will help people take advantage of the existing ehealth options and local services available to them.” The Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan is pleased to see Australian government funding being committed to local services that benefit North Coast communities. “NCPHN is doing a great job to identify community needs and find the right organisations to provide access to evidence-based services. Mental health issues are a known challenge for our region. Making sure we are supporting individuals at all levels of mental health need, from mild to severe, is key to a community-wide approach.” New Horizon’s Chief Executive Judi Higgin said the service would ensure callers were matched with the best care for their mental health needs. “The new service complements an existing telephone service and bridges the gap in care. Early intervention can help people with anxiety and depression manage their wellbeing and prevent further escalation.” People seeking support for mental health issues can call the Northern NSW Local Health District Mental Health Line 24 hours, 7 days on 1800 011 511.