Open door to mental health

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Mission Australia.
Camera IconMission Australia. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian, Jackson Flindell The West AustralianPicture: Jackson Flindell

Health agencies across the Pilbara have united to reduce barriers to mental health services, after a successful collaborative workshop was held in Karratha last year.

The No Wrong Door approach was developed after the Pilbara regional mental health and alcohol and other drug workshop, that sought feedback from agencies working in the sector on the state of the system.

The plan aimed to improve the experience of patients by having agencies share service information, and line up referrals and assessments.

The establishment of a directory of mental health and alcohol and other drug service providers was also included as part of the integrated approach.

Co-ordinated and co-hosted by WA Primary Health Alliance and Mission Australia, the workshop had a particular focus on the existing gaps in service provision and current referral systems. The workshop found people were being redirected several times before they were offered a service and had to tell their story many times in the process.

Agency staff agreed the referral and assessment processes were complicated and varied greatly between agencies, making it difficult for people to access services.

Mission Australia Pilbara integrated primary mental health program manager Helen McMahon said Mission Australia was committed to ensuring its own practice did not act as a barrier for people seeking help.

“We’ve started that journey by making some changes intern-ally,” she said. “If every organisation in this region works towards reducing barriers, then there will be no barriers.”

WA Primary Health Alliance regional manager Winny Henry said a Pilbara regional mental health and alcohol and other drugs managers’ group had been formed as part of the workshop’s recommendations.

“They will guide the scope and direction of collaborative activities and advocacy to address the needs of clients and the concept of every door in the service system being the right door for clients,” she said. “Ensuring all agencies are aware of the services and the resources available, through a new directory of mental health and alcohol and other drug service providers, is also a great first step.”

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