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Making Health Better
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Community action planning group working in collaboration to help individuals receive the right care at the right time

The Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group (SPCAP) held a forum on Tuesday 4 June to better connect mental health services for the Mackay community.

The Mental Health and Related Services Forum involved local service providers working in collaboration to:

  • clarify what each service in the sector does in terms of eligibility for individuals and referral processes
  • develop a map of mental health and related services
  • identify strategies to help individuals navigate between services
  • prepare for a Community Open Day being held on Thursday 25 July 2019.

SPCAP, led by North Queensland wellbeing service selectability and initiated by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), is comprised of 14 local representatives with the purpose of developing a Suicide Prevention Plan for the Whitsunday, Isaac, and Mackay regions.

The Suicide Prevention Plan is centred on an evidence-based model developed by the Black Dog Institute which stipulates suicide prevention strategies are most effective when they are implemented by community members as a collaborative group, localised for a specific region, and informed by people with a lived experience of suicide.

Community development expert Deb Rae is the lead facilitator for this project, which commenced in February 2017, and said mental health service providers working together in collaboration is key to providing better connected mental health care and support for the Mackay community.

“Some of the key points raised by service providers in mental health and related services in the region is that they can see the most benefits for service users and providers when they collaborate, keep up to date with changes in other related programs and personnel, and improve referral pathways,” said Ms Rae.

“During the Mental Health and Related Services Forum, providers had the opportunity to connect and work with other related and complimentary services and clarify the details of the services they provide such as eligibility criteria and referral processes.

“Providers also contributed their key program information to a national database called HealthPathways and updated this information to My Community Directory.

“This will support both service providers and community members to access current, accurate, and relevant information about the services they need.”

The forum included a panel discussion with representatives from NQPHN and Mackay Hospital and Health Service’s Mental Health team, as well as a Q&A session with individuals with lived experience of suicide.

NQPHN Executive Director Clinical Governance and Performance Gillian Yearsley said mental health is a key priority area for NQPHN and this forum will offer the opportunity to discuss ways in which the community can more easily navigate between available mental health services.

“It is great to see providers in the region coming together to plan how they can collectively improve coordination of care and access to services for individuals so they can receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” Ms Yearsley said.

“NQPHN is committed to working together with these dedicated mental health providers to improve the wellbeing of individuals in the region, helping them to live happier, healthier, and longer lives.”

SPCAP also used this forum as a chance to plan an upcoming Community Open Day, being held on Thursday 25 July, to provide the most relevant information about mental health services available to individuals living in Mackay.

More information about the Community Open Day will be shared shortly.