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Showing posts tagged with 'Mental Health'

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Visit from the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt

Last Wednesday we were honoured to host The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and the Federal Member for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh MP at our office.

Essential to what we do as a regional health planning and funding body, is knowing our region and understanding the primary healthcare needs of our community. This visit was an opportunity for us to not only showcase some our work but to advocate for the health needs of our region, particularly in regards to mental health and addiction support.

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Our Rethinking Mental Health Conference

On Saturday, 17 August we held our first Conference - Rethinking Mental Health: New Approaches in Primary Care.

Held in the Blue Mountains, the conference brought together experts from around Australia to provide new insights on the impact of mental illness in our region and talk about new ways to manage mental health in primary care.

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New Psychiatry Support Line Exclusively for GPs

At the start of this month, we were excited to launch a free psychiatry advice line exclusively for GPs to help manage the care of patients with mental health concerns.

We know that in parts of our region there are limited psychiatrists available and that sometimes there can be lengthy wait times for patients to access these services. The GP Psychiatry Support Line gives GPs direct and timely access to psychiatry expertise, allowing patients whose conditions are treatable within primary care, to stay under the care of their GP.

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Local Farmer Rallies for Mental Health

Our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities project has provided us with the opportunity to engage with some of the isolated communities within our region. 

We have heard many stories from those impacted by the drought, particularly in the outer-lying areas of Lithgow and Hawkesbury. One person who has openly shared her personal journey is St Albans farmer, Sherri McMahon. Sherri has told us heart-wrenching stories of having to put down animals in poor condition, or because they have become ill from eating poisonous plants as a result of limited feed supply. 

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NewAccess - Missing Piece in Accessing Support

On Wednesday I was thrilled to officially launch the NewAccess program for the Lithgow and Hawkesbury communities. 

Developed by Beyond Blue, and provided by Marathon Health, NewAccess is an early intervention self-referral program for people 16 years and over who may be going through tough times. 

 

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Well-Being Grants funded in Lithgow

Our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities help build on existing strong community networks so that people have the skills to support each other and have the best opportunity to thrive. 

I’m excited to announce four more of our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities recipients that have been successful in the Lithgow region. Capertee Valley Landcare Incorporated, Lithgow Area Women’s Shed, Lithgow Information & Neighbourhood Centre and Trybal Productions. 

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headspace for Katoomba and Hawkesbury under Labor

On Thursday, I was invited to an event where Senator Deborah O'Neill, Assistant Shadow Minister for Mental Health, and Susan Templeman, Member for Macquarie, announced that Labor will also fund a headspace Centre in Katoomba, in addition to a new outreach service in the Hawkesbury, if elected into Government.

We are passionate about improving the mental health of our local communities and are thrilled that both Katoomba and the Hawkesbury will receive funding for headspace services if Labor is elected.

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Hawkesbury Be & Co. Launches

I am excited to announce the first of our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities recipients launched their project yesterday.

Hawkesbury Be & Co. is a fortnightly pop-up social event that aims to foster community connections and improve access to support for isolated people.

Our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities is funded by the Federal Government’s Empowering Our Communities project, which was introduced as one of several measures to support communities affected by drought.

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New Youth Mental Health Support for Katoomba

On Tuesday, the Hon Marise Payne, Senator for Western Sydney, and Sarah Richards, Liberal candidate for the seat of Macquarie, announced that the Morrison Government will fund a new headspace service in Katoomba.

Together with the community, we have been advocating for additional youth mental health services in our region for some time and we are thrilled that Katoomba will receive a headspace service in mid-2020 to help address youth anxiety and depression.

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Young, Strong & Deadly - helping Close the Gap

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people still face unequal health outcomes. On average, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people die more than 10 years younger than other Australians.

National Close the Gap Day, on 21 March, highlights this issue and provides Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians the opportunity to come together to share information and to support the work that aims to achieve Indigenous health equality.

We have a strong history of collaborating with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities in the region to identify gaps in services relating to health and taking action to close those gaps.

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Supporting Older People's Health in our Community  

This week is the NSW Seniors Festival and the chance to celebrate the unique contribution older people make to our community. 

As a PHN, we are committed to doing our part to make older people’s health a priority. In our region the population aged 65 years and older is projected to be 65,100 by the year 2021, which is over 16% of the population. As our aged population increases, so does our need to ensure that we have adequate community supports and services available to care for people as they enter this phase of their life.

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Well-Being Grants for Farming Communities Launched

Yesterday we launched our Well-Being Grants for Farming Communities program to help support the mental health and well-being of farming communities in the Nepean Blue Mountains region.

Significant parts of our region have been identified as being drought impacted, and this program will provide grants of between $1,000 and $50,000 to organisations and community-led initiatives that will help support the mental health, long-term well-being and resilience of these communities.

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Three year funding for mental health

We are delighted by the Australian Government's announcment yesterday that it will provide $1.45 billion over the next three years to strengthen mental health services and support job security in the sector.

In this announcement, the Government has committed to a new funding model for PHNs which will mean that funding for mental health services will be extended for three years from July 2019. Each year, funding will then be extended for a further year subject to a PHN meeting agreed performance measures.

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New online tool helping NDIS participants

Our mental health team is no stranger to innovation. In the past, we have developed a number of new and exciting tools to make accessing local health services easier, including the very popular Mental Health Help website, which helps people find the right mental health service to support their needs. 

This week, are proud to be launching a new online tool that vastly improves the way people can calculate the NDIS support they might be eligible. We believe this is the first tool of its kind that will not just benefit NDIS participants and support coordinators in our region, but could be used across many other parts of Australia. 

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Interim Mental Health Support for Young People in Lithgow

Last month I wrote about the announcement by the Federal Government of funding to commission a new headspace outreach service in Lithgow in mid-2018.

While we work to establish this new service, it's important that youth in the area who are already experiencing psychological distress, can access the support they need.

As a result, we have established an interim measure that allows young Lithgow residents aged between 12 to 25 years old, who hold a current Centrelink issued Health Care Card, to access up to 12 sessions of free or low cost ($10) psychological services through a referral from their GP.

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Village Café Wins Zest Award

Most of us know the old saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but the reality is that it takes a village to live well and grow old too. The village, or community, that each of us is a part of, can have an important impact on our overall state of health and wellbeing.

Recognising this, as part of the Penrith Health Action Plan - a joint initiative between Penrith City Council and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District; Nepean Blue Mountains PHN and key community partners, - we introduced a 'Village Café' in North St Marys last year. We are delighted to announce that the Village Café was recognised on Friday at the 2018 ZEST Awards, which celebrates exceptional people and projects that make a difference in the community of Western Sydney.

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Community Suicide Prevention Workshops

Good mental health is everyone’s concern. We all want to have a ‘positive’ wellbeing, with most of us now recognising the dramatic effect our mental health can have on our physical health – both positively and negatively.

Yet all of us, at one time or another, are at risk of poor mental health or even mental illness. Daily life stressors or big life changes such as becoming a parent, ending a relationship or losing a loved one, can sometimes overwhelm us all. That is why it is so important that those struggling with their mental health don’t feel isolated and that they can access the services they need, when they need it.

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New youth mental health support for Lithgow

Today I was delighted to attend an event in Lithgow with the Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, who announced on behalf of the Federal Government additional funding to help support youth anxiety and depression.

I am passionate about improving the health of our local communities and mental health continues to be a high priority for our region.

As part of the package announced today, our PHN will receive funding to commission an outreach headspace service in Lithgow in mid-2018. I am thrilled that Lithgow will receive this much needed funding boost to help address the high rates of youth mental health in the area.

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Reflecting on 2017

As we countdown to the end of 2017, I would like to take a moment to reflect on our achievements this year. This is not straight forward, as there so many facets to our organisation, and we are fortunate to be involved in a large and diverse range of projects, all of which have the ultimate goal of improving the health of our community. 

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NBMPHN showcases commissioned programs

I was thrilled to be part of a Showcase event this week that marked both the culmination and beginning of an exciting chapter for our region. It’s the culmination of an extensive commissioning process and the beginning for a number programs that are being rolled out to address drug, alcohol and mental health issues across our region. 

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PHNs delivering Alcohol and Other Drug Services

In October 2015, the Final Report of the National Ice Taskforce was submitted to the Australian Government, detailing strategies to address the high level of drug use - particularly methamphetamine use - in Australia.

A key recommendation from the report was tasking PHNs with the role of ensuring Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services within their region met the needs of their local population. In response, the Federal Government committed $241.5 million to primary health networks commencing late 2016, to increase AOD treatment services - including addressing methamphetamine use - across Australia.

Our PHN has since been working around the clock to set up a range of new AOD services within our region. 

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Mental Health and Alcohol & Drug (AOD) program

This week, I took part in a Workshop with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, in Canberra.

Attended by CEOs from every PHN, this workshop was a terrific opportunity to discuss the best practice approaches to mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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