Program to employ after-hours mental health staff

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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Residents in the Pilbara will soon have increased access to mental health care, thanks to a new program by WA Primary Health Alliance.

In the new program, WA Country Health Service will partner with the Pilbara Mental Health and Drug Service to employ two after-hours clinical nurse specialist mental health liaison staff.

The two new staff will be working in the Emergency Department Diversion Program to provide a strong clinical focus.

The program will offer targeted face-to-face after-hours mental health care in the emergency department setting, and patients presenting with mental health care need will also receive appropriate referral and follow-up.

Member for Durack Melissa Price said the Federal Government was committed to supporting people experiencing mental health issues in rural and remote areas.

“This is great news for people living in the Pilbara region,” she said.

The services will be provided at Hedland Health Campus and Nickol Bay Hospital, with video conferencing links to inland hospitals in Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Newman and Onslow, as well as Marble Bar and Nullagine Nursing Post as required.

WAPHA regional co-ordinator Winny Henry said the creation of the additional roles would ensure patients and emergency department clinicians were better supported.

“It will allow for the support of clients with mental health and alcohol and other drug concerns following an emergency department presentation, effectively linking them into appropriate community support services,” she said.

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