The Hodgman majority Liberal Government will establish a Mental Health Hospital Avoidance Program in southern Tasmania, as part of a new approach to improve the integration of mental health supports and services.
The Mental Health Southern Integration Taskforce was established in 2018 to explore world best practice for the integration of mental health services. The Taskforce included representation from clinicians for inpatient and community mental health services, GPs, consumer peak bodies, unions, and, importantly, those who have lived experience with the mental health system in southern Tasmania.
Today I am releasing the Taskforce’s report and recommendations which we have accepted in full, along with the Government’s response, which includes actions across both primary and community-based settings.
If we want to prevent a cycle of illness and relapse, we need to look more closely at how we can better integrate services so that people can get more holistic support.
While there will always be a need for acute mental health facilities, we know emergency departments are not the best place for a person struggling with mental ill-health. That’s why the Hospital Avoidance Program will deliver a new and improved model of care for those who find themselves in the ED or other clinical settings, and will feature GP out-of-hours assistance, expanded crisis response functions, centre-based alternatives to the ED for assessment and treatment 24/7, and expanded adult community mental health services.
The Government will also revise the Adult Community Mental Health model to develop a part of the service to specialise in providing the best evidence-based care and treatment for people living with dual disabilities, complex PTSD and Tasmanians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This will improve patient care and ensure these Tasmanians receive the right care in the right place.
Alongside the Hospital Avoidance Program, we will develop an integrated suicide response that connects after care support with a community-based crisis response.
We will use our existing investment at St Johns Park and the redevelopment of the Peacock Centre to establish integration hubs, which will provide mental health short-term recovery beds, as well as opportunities for co-location of social, housing, employment, disability and health services, all of which play a role in linking people into appropriate supports, and help avoid escalation of mental illness and potential relapse.
It is absolutely vital that we work in a truly collaborative way across clinical and community sectors, with integrated services so that Tasmanians can walk through one door to receive the support they need instead of four.
There will also be a review of the model of care for the child and adolescent mental health service, with a focus on the integration of service responses across inpatient and community settings.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is focused on delivering the essential services Tasmania needs, and we have a $104 million mental health plan to deliver more integration and more support for Tasmanians living with mental ill-health.
I sincerely thank the Taskforce members for their work and diligence in this increasingly important area.
The Taskforce’s report and recommendations and the Government’s response can be viewed here: https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/mentalhealth