Mental Health Support
Mental Health Support in Rural and Remote Communities
Improving mental health in the Bowen Basin
In 2020, modelling indicated that mental health issues were likely to rise significantly in Australia as a result of COVID-19.
Eighteen months on, data from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare shows that although suicide rates have remained stable, there has been a significant increase in demand for mental health services.
In rural and remote areas, access to mental health services is substantially more limited than in metropolitan areas and tragically, rates of suicide and self-harm increase with remoteness.
The Bowen Basin is a region where this increasing demand for mental health support has not been met with a proportional increase in mental health services, predominantly due to challenges of funding, delivering, and staffing mental health services in this region.
Queensland cannot wait. Its mental health service providers must urgently be equipped with the capacity to respond to the expected dramatic increase in demand for mental health services.
Thanks to the generous support of Mitsubishi Development, Wesley Medical Research, has begun a three-phased research program that aims to enhance access to mental health services and improve mental health outcomes in the Bowen Basin.
Working in collaboration with the Bowen Basin community and our academic collaborator, the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI), Phase 1 of this project is complete.
Phase 1 focused on understanding the context of mental health service delivery in the Bowen Basin including associated barriers and facilitators. Following extensive stakeholder consultation, a new layered mental health care model, named Navicare, was co-designed, with local community input.
Phase 2 of the project has commenced and seeks to implement Isaac Navicare, a model that focuses on care navigation and connection to assist help-seekers in finding the right service at the right time to support them through their mental health journey.
This model consists of:
- Physical Hub – A mental health and well-being information hub will provide benefits including a “home base” for the Mental Health Care Navigator, telehealth rooms, an information and resource hub, and capacity for walk-in referrals.
- Virtual and Telehealth Services – Access to telehealth services is necessary to provide specialist mental health care in the region. To meet community needs, help-seekers will connect with online psychology services and access support at the physical hub.
This service was established in March 2021. The online psychology service My Mirror provides access to fully registered psychologists that are individually approved by the My Mirror team. My Mirror is equipped with a wide range of expertise and is available to support help-seekers take responsibility for their mental wellbeing when they need it most.
- Mental Health Care Navigator – Ms Kelly McGrath (pictured right) will provide much needed help-seeker support while promoting education and awareness of mental health services. The role will assist with telehealth appointments, coordinate case management with providers, and link with local partners and networks.
Phase 3 of the project will provide a robust evaluation of the trialled model of care that will inform a continuing service delivery model to provide sustained, improved mental health in the Bowen Basin. This phase is expected to commence shortly and will run in parallel with Isaac Navicare implementation.