More than 90,000 Tasmanians are currently living with a common mental health-related condition such as depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder, and a further 125,000 are at risk of developing a mental health condition.
Mental health, alcohol and drugs
Many young Tasmanians who have a mental health condition also experience alcohol and other drug issues.
Primary Health Tasmania has received Australian Government funding to support young people in north and north west Tasmania who experience both mental health and alcohol and other drug issues.
We will use the funding to make dedicated workers available to clients of existing mental health services who also experience alcohol and other drug issues.
We are working with the Tasmanian Health Service to put this new model in place.
This new initiative aims to improve health outcomes for this group of young people and keep them out of hospital.
It will also aim to improve integration between mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment services, and between state and federally funded services.
When we talk about psychosocial support, we’re talking about programs and activities designed to help people with a severe mental illness increase their functioning in day-to-day life.
Primary Health Tasmania has commissioned the delivery of psychosocial support services in Tasmania. We are also working with stakeholders to identify and address barriers faced by people with mental illness when testing for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Primary Health Tasmania is driving the Common Assessment and Referral (CARe) project, which aims to standardise the assessment of people presenting with mental health conditions to ensure they’re matched to the care that most suits their needs at the time.
A key component of this project is development of a local Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) tool, drawing on evidence-based Australian Government guidance that aims to make it easier for clinicians to recommend the most appropriate level of care for a person seeking mental health support.
Tasmanian clinicians will be able to use the IAR digital decision support tool to match a person’s initial mental health assessment scores to the most appropriate level of care, helping to inform the referral process.
Another project component is development of an up-to-date database of mental health services in Tasmania, for referrers using the IAR tool.
Primary Health Tasmania has set up a dedicated engagement portal for the CARe project, which you can access here.
Tasmanian Communications Charter
Tasmania is the first state to adopt the National Communications Charter — a unifying resource for mental health, suicide prevention, government, business, and community organisations. On a local level, the Tasmanian Communications Charter champions a safe and stigma-free approach to talking about suicide that is consistent across various branches of the community.
Primary Health Tasmania is signatory to the Tasmanian Communications Charter.
Launceston Head to Health: Adult mental health centre
The Australian Government is funding a trial of eight Head to Health centres across Australia, with one to be established in each state and territory. Launceston has been chosen as the location for the Tasmanian centre, to be known as Launceston Head to Health.
eMental health refers to the use of the web and other communication technologies to provide mental health services and support, such as online support groups, podcasts and apps.
The eMHPrac – e-mental health in practice – project is an Australian Government initiative that aims to raise practitioner awareness and knowledge of digital mental health by providing training and support.
Head to Health also provides comprehensive information and collated resources for health professionals and consumers alike.
National Suicide Prevention Trial
Tasmania is one of 12 sites around the country taking part in the Australian Government-funded trial, which aims to test how a more coordinated approach can help local communities reduce the rate of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide.
Primary Health Tasmania, along with the Tasmanian Department of Health and the Tasmanian Health Service, has partnered with the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, the National Disability Insurance Agency, Flourish and Mental Health Families and Friends Tasmania to develop a new approach to mental health service planning and delivery.
The result is Rethink 2020, which comes five years after the Tasmanian Government published its plan to improve mental health outcomes for all Tasmanians: Rethink Mental Health Better Mental Health and Wellbeing – A Long-Term Plan for Mental Health in Tasmania 2015-25.
Rethink 2020 takes stock of key milestones achieved so far – such as progress towards mental health integration hubs, improved youth mental health support in the north west, and the launch of a mental health peer workforce strategy – while also elevating new areas of focus as key mental health priorities for the state.