New Crisis Support Spaces in QLD

Last June/July the Queensland Government announced it would spend $62 million on suicide prevention initiatives, which included 8 crisis services based on the UK Safe Haven Model, which was wonderful news!

I thought it would be good to find out what was happening with these services and wrote to the QLD Minister of Health, who linked me up with the relevant part of QLD Health. They provided me with a letter to publish, updating me on their progress.

 Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch
Email:MHAODB-corro@health.qld.gov.au
File Ref:C-ECTF-20/4450

Ms Kerri Jackson

Email: kerri.jackson@cqumail.com

Dear Ms Jackson

Thank you for your email dated 27 March 2020, seeking further information on the opening of eight mental health cafes in Queensland.

In the 2019 State Budget, Queensland Health was allocated $62 million over four years for suicide prevention initiatives. A significant component of the Shifting Minds flagship: Taking action to reduce suicides in Queensland is a Crisis System Reform project, which will deliver a state-wide framework for mental health crisis service delivery and trial new crisis care options as alternatives to emergency departments, including the establishment of Crisis Support Spaces in eight hospitals across Queensland.

The Crisis Support Spaces, based on the UK Safe Haven Café model, will be designed to provide a warm, caring and safe space for people to go for safety and respite in times of crisis and will be staffed by a combination of peer workers with lived experience of mental distress and clinicians.

The first four spaces will be established at Cairns, Mackay, The Prince Charles, and the Princess Alexandra Hospitals.

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in some delays due to additional time required to consult remotely with key stakeholders to finalise the model of service and identified spaces being used for high priority short-term clinical priorities, the planning and implementation work required to establish each of these spaces is continuing. The lessons learnt from the establishment of the first four spaces will inform the development of the second group of four spaces which will occur next financial year.

Yours sincerely

Jan Phillips, Executive Director (for PROFESSOR KEITH McNEIL) A/Deputy Director-General) Clinical Excellence Queensland 11/05/2020 Telephone +61 7 3708 5342Website https://clinicalexcellence.qld.gov.au Email DDGCEQ@health.qld.gov.au ABN 66 329 169 412

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Psychiatric Boarding and New Hampshire’s Crisis Redesign

Ken Norton, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Hampshire

Monday May 25th 2020

https://talk.crisisnow.com/ken-norton-on-psychiatric-boarding-and-new-hampshires-crisis-redesign/

In the early 1990s, New Hampshire was rated number one in the country for community mental health programs. Peggy Straw, the founder of NAMI New Hampshire, responded by saying to the press that wasn’t much of an accomplishment, considering the status of mental healthcare in the United States at the time. Her objective was to improve the quality of life of people experiencing mental illness, and there was a significant chasm between where the state and nation were versus where they needed to be. The gap, says Ken Norton, LICSW, executive director of NAMI New Hampshire, continued over the next 10-15 years. “Funding for services was going downhill, so the state put together a mental health commission to create a 10-year mental health plan, which was issued in 2008.” The strategy included numerous healthcare system reforms but, unfortunately, was released at the same time as the Great Recession, and “the plan went nowhere.” 

In 2011, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote a letter to the New Hampshire Department of Justice, expressing concern with the high rates of hospitalization and rehospitalization, and the dearth of full continuum community-based services in the state, citing violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Olmstead provisions. The legislature in the state ignored the letter and shortly after that, at the beginning of 2012, legal advocates filed a federal class action suit against New Hampshire for the violations, and the federal DOJ joined the lawsuit (Amanda D., et al. v. Hassan, et al.; United States v. New Hampshire). 

Spike in Psychiatric Boarding

Interestingly, emergency department (ED) psychiatric boarding—people in mental health crises languishing in hallways or other ED spaces while awaiting treatment—was not mentioned in the suit. “At the time of the initial filing, it didn’t really exist. By 2013, psychiatric boarding had become a crisis.” Norton met with the new governor at the time, Maggie Hassan, on her first day in office. On the following Monday, NAMI held a press conference jointly with roughly 15 other organizations, including hospitals, law enforcement, mental health providers, and medical associations, bringing attention to the issue, describing psychiatric boarding as a legal, medical, ethical, and economic problem plaguing the system. Norton says the dire situation arose from the absence of funding for solutions identified in the 2008 10-year plan as well as a reduction in adult state hospital beds. 

Due to the 2011 recession, the children’s unit at New Hampshire State Hospital (NHH) was closed because of reduced funding and moved to the adult hospital, with children having single rooms. The hospital took 48 adult beds and turned them into 24 children’s beds. “The Department of Health and Human Services said, ‘The only way we can achieve these cuts is to do this,’ never thinking that the legislature would agree to it. The legislature said, ‘Do it.’” The children’s unit needed upgrading and facility improvements, and the legislature said there wasn’t money to make changes, but then, in 2013, it approved $3 million to renovate the building and turn it into state offices. “Mental health just wasn’t a priority for them.” 

There was also a reduction in private psychiatric hospital beds, and they began seeing an overflow at the EDs, resulting in psychiatric boarding. Norton highlights that there were also legal challenges. “When someone meets the criteria for involuntary emergency admission, state law dictates that the person shall immediately be transported to a designated receiving facility.” He says long delays are problematic medically because the sooner a person in a mental health crisis is treated, the better they get. “Not just the quicker they get better, but, truly, the better they get.” Ethically, it puts ED staff in a tenuous position of doing harm to people and places hospitals in a challenging legal situation because they didn’t have the authority to hold. “We don’t treat people experiencing any other illness this way. It also has economic implications because, short of the intensive care unit, it’s the most expensive area of the hospital. There are more effective treatments and services that don’t carry the same financial burden.” 

The number of psychiatric boarding cases continued to spike from there. For example, in 2017, the highest number of people waiting for beds at NHH was 71 adults (August 2017) and 27 children (May 2017). Norton says some people were waiting for more than three weeks in the ED. Depending on the ED, people are sometimes placed in a separate pod, an observation room, or strapped to gurneys in the hallways. Not only was psychiatric boarding clogging up the hospital system, but people weren’t getting due process under the law: a hearing within 72 hours. “The language said, ‘Upon admission to the designated receiving facility, a person should have a hearing within 72 hours.’ Someone, somewhere, interpreted that to mean the hearing clock didn’t start until the person was admitted.”

Lawsuit Settlement Expands Crisis Services

With support from Governor Hassan, in December of 2013, the DOJ and private plaintiffs entered into a settlement agreement with New Hampshire that expanded crisis services. It included:

  1. The development of three mobile crisis teams in the Interstate-93 corridor, the population center for the state—Manchester, Concord, and Nashua,
  2. The development of assertive community treatment (ACT) teams to integrate psychiatric and medical treatment at each of the 10 community mental health centers,
  3. Increase in supported housing, 
  4. And an increase in supported employment.

The changes came with a hefty price tag, and experts assumed that as implementation occurred, the number of psychiatric boarding cases would go down. They didn’t. “The staff of NHH were beside themselves at that amount of ED boarding that was happening. This wasn’t good for anyone.” In January 2017, Chris Sununu became Governor of New Hampshire. Norton said it brought new attention to the issue. “Governor Sununu went to an ED, without the press in tow, to see firsthand what was going on. He spoke to patients, staff, and families, and gained a determination to address the issue.” Consequently, Norton says, there were increased legislative efforts during that session, including the governor personally testifying on a bill to increase designated receiving facility capacity in the state, which was passed and funded, and to add a mobile crisis team. “A request for proposal (RFP) went out, and no one applied because of diminished capacity. Medicaid rates had not gone up in the state since 2002, and providers were tired of taking it on the chin and providing services that weren’t adequately reimbursed. They were also fearful of the future of the Affordable Care Act.” 

At the time, New Hampshire was in the middle of an addiction/opioid crisis and experiencing staggering opioid deaths per capita. Overburdened, psychiatric boarding continued to rise at the EDs across that state. “What we discovered is that the backdoor was as problematic as the front door: people were at the state hospital who no longer needed that level of care, but they couldn’t get out.” He says this is in part because there weren’t sufficient step up and step down services like partial hospital programs or crisis respite that could mitigate hospitalization or allow someone to more slowly transition back into the community, and with a booming economy, there was a severe shortage of affordable housing. 

In 2018, New Hampshire renewed Medicaid expansion, extending it through 2023, and legislation called for developing a new 10-year mental health plan that broadened numerous crisis services, such as more designated receiving facility beds, developing a forensic hospital, and increasing mobile crisis teams. “We, at NAMI New Hampshire, continued behind the scenes, pushing for a statewide mobile crisis.” At the time, lawmakers were more focused on children than adults, triggering legislation for a statewide pediatric mobile crisis, which is being developed, but, Norton says, “They now realize that it needs to be a mobile crisis for everyone.” The plan also included a walk-in psychiatric facility, which opened in Concord, where NHH is located. “People were coming to the ED at Concord Hospital more than any other in the state for psychiatric issues.” 

In addition to statewide mobile crisis for children, the 2019 legislative session also increased Medicaid reimbursement rates and funding for an additional walk-in crisis stabilization unit and a plan to transfer children from NHH to a private facility and reopen those beds for adults.  

The psychiatric boarding numbers have decreased considerably; in December, they reached single digits for adults. Due to COVID-19, Governor Sununu declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire on March 13th, closing schools. Thirteen days later, he issued a statewide stay-at-home order until May 4th. The hospital’s highest number of adults or children waiting at one time for beds at NHH was more elevated in March—42 adults and 16 children—than in January or February, but they occurred before March 13th. The virus accelerated plans to transfer all children to a private facility, which was completed by March 20th. Over the next week, NHH began admitting people from EDs to the former children’s unit, bringing the boarding numbers down considerably. The highest psychiatric boarding numbers for April are strikingly lower: 22 for adults and 0 for children

Even the highest numbers in 2020 are far lower than the 71 adults and 27 children from the peak in 2017. Norton says this is because of the previously mentioned measures as well as in-home Wraparound services for children/youth and their families, called the FAST Forward program, which stands for Families and Systems Together. “Because of this support, the children’s census has been down at the hospital, decreasing the numbers by a dozen on any given day. The increase in community support for children decreased the demand on NHH, allowing it to split the psychiatric unit in half, with children on one side and 18-21-year-olds on the other. The division went away mid-March when adults began to be admitted. The state has also aggressively pursued developing better community placements and step down services, resulting from the lawsuit settlement agreement. “There is more from the last legislative session that needs to be operationalized, and once that has occurred, we will likely see psychiatric boarding continue to decrease.”

And here are the details – this is quite some plan!

NEW HAMPSHIRE ADA MENTAL HEALTH SETTLEMENT FACT SHEET
Amanda D., et al. v. Hassan, et al.; United States v. New Hampshire, No. 1:12-CV-53 (SM)

Overview
The United States Department of Justice, a coalition of private plaintiff organizations, and the State of New Hampshire, have entered into a comprehensive Settlement Agreement that will transform New Hampshire’s mental health system by significantly expanding and enhancing mental health service capacity in integrated community settings. The Agreement will enable a class of adults with serious mental illness to receive needed services in the community, which will foster their independence and enable them to participate more fully in community life. The expanded and enhanced community services will significantly reduce visits to hospital emergency rooms and will avoid unnecessary institutionalization at State mental health facilities, including New Hampshire Hospital (“NHH”) (the State’s only psychiatric hospital) and the Glencliff Home (a State-owned and -operated nursing facility for people with mental illness). The Agreement requires the State to expand and enhance community services over the next six years.

Remedial Relief and Legal Framework in Settlement Agreement
Target Population

  • The Agreement provides relief to several thousand adults within New Hampshire who have serious mental illness and who are institutionalized or at serious risk of institutionalization at
    New Hampshire Hospital or the Glencliff Home. Those at serious risk of institutionalization include those within the target population who, within the last two years: have been admitted
    multiple times to New Hampshire Hospital, have used crisis or emergency services for mental health reasons, have had criminal justice involvement as a result of their mental illness, or have been
    unable to access needed community services.

Crisis Services

  • Over the first four years of the Agreement, the State will develop a crisis system that: is available at all times; provides timely and accessible services and supports; stabilizes individuals and assists them to return to their pre-crisis level of functioning; provides
    interventions to avoid unnecessary hospitalization, incarceration, and admission to an institution; provides services at the site of the crisis, including in individual homes; and promptly assesses individual needs and connects people to critical services and supports in a timely manner.
  • For the first time, the State will create mobile crisis teams in the three largest population centers in the state – Manchester, Concord, and Nashua – that will be able to respond onsite in the community to any individual crisis within one hour from the time of contact. The mobile crisis teams will be: available at all times; comprised of trained clinicians and peers; able to respond onsite in individual homes; provide face-to-face interventions to de-escalate crises without removing people from their homes; able to provide services beyond the immediate crisis; and able to work with law enforcement during a crisis.
  • As an alternative to hospitalization or institutionalization, each mobile crisis team will have available to it, also for the first time, at least four community crisis apartment beds, with no more than two beds per crisis apartment. These apartments will have sufficient clinical and peer staff onsite at all times, whenever necessary to meet individual needs.

Assertive Community Treatment (“ACT”)

  • The State will expand and enhance community ACT team services in order to deliver comprehensive, individualized, and flexible services and supports to people at all times, in a timely manner as needed, and face-to-face and onsite in homes and other natural environments, so as to allow people a reasonable opportunity to live independently in the community.
  • The State will elevate the performance of all of its ACT teams to better comport with good practice and to better achieve desired outcomes.
  • For the first time, the State will provide statewide ACT coverage in each mental health region.
  • Over the first three years of the Agreement, the State will expand ACT team service capacity so as to be able to serve at least 1,500 people in the target population; this expansion will provide ACT team services to hundreds of additional people in need.
  • The State will develop effective regional and statewide plans going forward to provide sufficient ACT services to ensure reasonable access by additional eligible individuals.

Housing

  • The State will provide additional supported housing for hundreds of people throughout the state that: is scattered-site, permanent housing with tenancy rights, where tenancy is not conditioned on an individual’s participation in treatment or compliance with mandatory programmatic criteria; includes flexible services and supports to enable people to attain and maintain integrated affordable housing; and is predominantly single-occupancy or single-family supported housing.
  • The State will create additional supported housing whenever there are too many people on a housing waiting list for too long, per specified triggering criteria.
  • For the first time, the State will create community settings to meet the needs of people at Glencliff with complex health care needs, who cannot readily be served in supported housing.
  • Going forward, the State will develop an effective plan for providing sufficient community-based residential supports for additional people at Glencliff who have complex health care needs.

Supported Employment

  • For the first time, the State will deliver supported employment services in accordance with the Dartmouth evidence-based model. These services will help enable individuals to obtain and
    maintain paid, competitive employment in integrated community settings. Over the life of the Agreement, this provision will impact thousands of people.
  • Over the first five years of the Agreement, the State will increase its penetration rate of people with serious mental illness receiving supported employment services by about seven percent,
    to 18.6 percent of eligible individuals with serious mental illness; this means that several hundred additional people, approaching 1,000 people, will get needed supported employment services.
  • For those not getting such services, the State will develop an effective plan for providing sufficient supported employment services to eligible individuals going forward.

Family and Peer Supports

  • The State will ensure that there is an effective family support program to meet the needs of families throughout the state. This program will teach families skills and strategies for better
    supporting their family members’ treatment and recovery in the community.
  • The State will ensure that there is an effective peer support program throughout the state to help individuals manage and cope with their mental illness. The State will expand peer support services offered through peer support centers, ensuring that the centers are open a minimum of eight hours per day, five-and-a-half days per week, or the hourly equivalent.

Transition Planning and Transition Plans

  • The State will provide each person in NHH and Glencliff with effective, person-centered transition planning that starts with the presumption that individuals can live in the community with sufficient services and supports. Transition planning will be based on the principle of self-determination; it will not exclude anyone from consideration for community living based solely on level of disability. Transition planning will be based on the individual’s needs, not on the availability, perceived or actual, of current community resources and capacity.
  • The State will also provide these people with an effective written transition plan that sets forth timeframes and details on the particular services and supports each person needs to successfully transition to and live in the community, whether or not a suitable community setting is currently available; it will set forth who has responsibility for deliverables before, during, and after the transition; it will include barriers to transition and how to overcome them; and it will include a post-transition schedule of community monitoring to see if individual needs are being met.
  • Going forward, the State has agreed to avoid placing people into nursing home settings.
  • The State will avoid placing people with developmental disabilities in NHH; the State will provide those already there with effective transition planning and plans using resources from both the State’s mental health system and system for people with developmental disabilities.
  • The State will create a central team to address and overcome barriers to discharge identified through the transition planning process. The team will be composed of people who have experience
    and expertise in how to successfully resolve barriers to discharge.
  • The State will conduct in-reach activities to help institutionalized individuals transition to the community; team activities will include visits to community settings and facilitated talks with individuals who have already successfully transitioned from institutions to the community.

Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement

  • The State will develop and implement a quality assurance and performance improvement system, emphasizing the use of client-level outcome tools and measures to ensure that individuals are
    provided with sufficient services and supports of good quality to best ensure their health, safety, and welfare. The goal is to help individuals achieve increased independence and greater integration in the community, obtain and maintain stable housing, avoid harms, and decrease the incidence of hospital contacts and institutionalization.
  • The State will ensure that there is an adequate network of qualified community providers with expertise/competency to deliver needed services and supports per performance-based contracts.
  • The State will regularly review community providers and programs to identify gaps and weaknesses, as well as areas of highest demand, to provide assist with comprehensive planning, administration, resource-targeting, and implementation of needed remedies; the State will develop and implement effective measures to address any gaps or weaknesses.
  • The State will conduct face-to-face Quality Service Reviews to evaluate the quality of services and supports and to see whether individuals’ needs are being met.

Independent Monitor

  • The Agreement creates an independent monitoring official, called the “Expert Reviewer,” who will assess the State’s implementation of and compliance with the terms of the Agreement, provide technical assistance when asked, and mediate disputes between and among the parties.
  • The Expert Reviewer is to be independent, with no party having supervisory authority over activities, reports, or recommendations; the Court will resolve any payment disputes.
  • The Expert Reviewer is to have full access to the people, places, and documents necessary to assess compliance with the Agreement.
  • The Expert Reviewer may retain consultants to assist with the monitoring work.
  • The Expert Reviewer will issue at least two public reports each year.
    Legal Architecture
  • The Settlement Agreement is a full consent decree to be entered by the Court as a Court order.
  • The case may not be dismissed until the State has complied with all provisions of the Agreement and maintained compliance for one year.

Co-vid 19 National Mental Health Plan

Australian Government Department of Health

The Government is providing a package of measures to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians as we face the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Government is doing everything it can to help Australians navigate and then recover from this unprecedented event. We urge all Australians – keep calm and keep informed.

While we might need to be physically distant from one another to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, we can stay socially connected.

The Government recognises additional investment and support is likely to be required as the pandemic develops in Australia and we will continue to work closely with the mental health sector to monitor and respond to emerging needs.

Why is this important?

Coronavirus is changing the way we live, work and communicate. The Coronavirus pandemic and associated response measures, such as restrictions on social gatherings, will have significant impacts for Australians and may cause people stress, anxiety and concern.

Prioritising our mental wellbeing is an important part of staying healthy. The Government’s Head to Health website (www.headtohealth.gov.au) is the best place to start if you feel like you might need some help coping with anxiety and worry about Coronavirus.

What are the measures in this package?

The Government is providing the following extra mental health support to Australians at this time:

  • Dedicated Coronavirus digital resources and a 24×7 phone counselling service led by Beyond Blue and staffed by accredited mental health professionals to help people experiencing stress or anxiety associated with the impacts of the pandemic, such as health concerns, employment changes, business closures or family pressures. Beyond Blue will establish this service, supported by a $5m donation from Medibank, an ongoing Beyond Blue partner.
  • Funding to bolster critical phone and online support services, including Lifeline and Kids Helpline, ensuring they can meet anticipated increased demand and providing job opportunities for Australians to be trained as counsellors. Extra funding will bolster other existing services including digital peer-support to people with urgent, severe and complex mental illness who may be experiencing additional distress.
  • A dedicated mental health and wellbeing program for frontline health workers will provide online and phone services, giving frontline workers support when and where they need it.
  • The Community Visitors Scheme will be expanded, with funding for extra staff and volunteers to ensure older people receiving aged care support, stay connected on line and by phone even though they may be physically separated from others.
  • headspace will expand its digital work and study service, to help younger Australians stay on track in their education and training and prepare them for the workforce.
  • For First Australians, new culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing resources will be developed by Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) across a range of platforms.
  • Increased funding for Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) to bolster its free helpline (1300 726 306) and produce new toolkits and resources to support expecting and new parents cope with increased stress and anxiety.
  • Funding to continue to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months. This will allow additional time for people with severe and complex mental illness to complete their applications and testing for support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • A targeted mental health communications campaign as part of the broader Coronavirus communications campaign. This will include wide-ranging advertising, social media engagement, education and awareness initiatives to keep the conversation going about mental health as the full impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic emerge.
  • Continued expansion of the resources provided on the Government’s digital mental health gateway Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support), giving people access to trusted mental health information and services.
  • Extra investment in the Australian Psychological Society’s Find a Psychologist website, to ensure people can connect with a psychologist if they need one, no matter where they are around Australia.

These measures complement the expansion of telehealth services to ensure that people can continue to access their mental health treatment services by videoconferencing or telephone.

Who benefits?

Expanding mental health services across Australia will not only ensure help is there when people need it, but will provide new job opportunities for people (for example, to be trained as Lifeline counsellors) to be there to support to their fellow Australians.

This package provides careful, targeted and practical measures to support mental health and wellbeing for Australians during this crisis, giving people direct access to online support and counselling services when and where they need it most.

How much will this cost?

The measures will cost $74 million over 2019-20 and 2020-21.

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Peer workers to boost NSW COVID-19 mental health response via ‘warm line’

Media Release

Mental Health Commission of NSW 

Published on 20 May 2020

People with lived experience of mental health issues and recovery are being engaged to provide critical front-line support to others with mental health issues during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Mental Health Commission of NSW and the NSW Government are providing $800,000 to set up a warm line which will enable people who may be experiencing distress to connect quickly with peer workers, who have travelled their own journey of mental health recovery and can provide hope for others.

The initiative plays a critical role given that the COVID-19 crisis is creating additional anxiety and stress for many people, especially those who live alone, without digital access, in remote locations or who are otherwise vulnerable.

Peer workers can be a safe means for people to talk through their issues and concerns, with someone who has experienced life-changing mental health issues.

As many as ten fulltime equivalent Peer Workers are being recruited to run the warm line, which is being delivered by not-for-profit NSW peak body and consumer advocate Being-Mental Health Consumer Advisory Group.

“This is a further opportunity to draw on the expertise of mental health peer workers and to demonstrate the value of the peer worker’s lived experience of illness and recovery,” NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said.

“Given that people are particularly vulnerable amidst the COVID-19 crisis, there’s never been a more important time for peer workers to step up.”

The NSW Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the warm line was a common-sense way of enhancing mental health at an extraordinary time.

“This is a clever and adaptive initiative that ensures people with mental health issues are able to get the help that’s right for them,” Mrs Taylor said.

“With early support the majority of people with mental health issues experience positive recovery journeys and that’s even more important during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Deputy Commissioner Tim Heffernan – himself a peer worker – said the warm line concept offered deep and personal human connection, with exponential benefits.

“Quite often people who are feeling anxious or worried don’t need a clinical response, just someone trustworthy and relatable to talk to, someone who can walk with them on their journey,” Mr Heffernan explained.

“Peer workers are well placed to provide meaningful guidance because they have intimate knowledge of how to deal with the isolation and loneliness that goes with mental health issues.

“The Peer Worker can assist the caller to access additional support, if required.”

Being-Mental Health Consumer Advisory Group CEO Irene Gallagher said the warm line was also providing important employment opportunities for people with a lived experience of a mental health issue during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are delighted to be in a position to offer jobs to people with lived experience of mental health issues during these difficult times,” Ms Gallagher said.

“We are looking for experienced and qualified Peer Workers who will undergo additional training to meet the needs of the service.

“The warmline peer workers will sit proudly at the frontline of the COVID-19 mental health response and play leadership roles guiding people through some of their most difficult and vulnerable times.”

The warm line will commence operating from mid June 2020 and be ramped up to full operation by mid July, ultimately providing services from 10am to 4pm and again from 6pm to 10pm 7 days a week.

https://nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au/print/news/media-centre/media-releases/peer-workers-to-boost-nsw-covid-19-mental-health-response-via-warm

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Back from the Brink: The Experience of Hospital after a Suicide Attempt, and What Happens When You Go Home

Kerri Patricia Jackson , M.HSc., B.SSc,Anthony Welch , PhD, MEd, BEd, BN, Graduate Diploma (Counselling), Dip Appld Sc (NEd), RN & Shane Hopkinson , B Soc Sci (Hons) PhD, GCTE Dip Fam Hist

Published online: 01 May 2020

https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840.2019.1710010

Abstract

Key proponents of suicide prevention around the world have been calling for research to focus on people who have survived a suicide attempt in the belief that people with this experience are an important but neglected source of information, with a great deal to contribute to the field of suicidology. This paper concerns the period in the immediate aftermath of a suicide attempt: the experiences of being hospitalised; discharged; returning home to the same struggle with suicidality and mental illness; difficulties with other people; and the side effects of medication. The methodology underpinning the study was descriptive phenomenology in the tradition of Edmund Husserl. The researcher conducted taped, face-to-face interviews of 1–2 hours with eight, adult volunteers and asked them to share their experience of re-engaging with life after a suicide attempt. What is of particular interest in this research are new findings on the way patients can help each other find a pathway to self-acceptance and the beginning of hope; and on the experience of returning home following a suicide attempt. These findings have the potential to inform mental health professionals, and improve existing mental health and suicide prevention practice by providing insight into the personal experiences of service users at this critical time in their life.

Please note I have about 40 copies I can give away. If you would like to read the whole thing, please email me for a copy kerri.jackson@cqumail.com

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Join the world’s largest online suicide prevention conference for mental health professionals

LIVE   16-17 May 2020  

ON-DEMAND   18 May – 7 June 2020

It’s entirely free and worth every minute of your time

Purpose

To equip every practicing mental health professional in Australia with global best-practice knowledge and skills on suicide prevention, thereby making a tangible reduction on suicide rates.

Dear Mental Health Professional,

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. As a mental health professional, you are the frontline of defence, and you will be required to work with suicidality.

You must be prepared.

We have partnered with Lifeline Australia, the leading national charity and provider of crisis support and suicide prevention services for help seekers in Australia, to bring you the 2020 Suicide Prevention Summit.

The purpose of this Summit is to equip practicing mental health professionals in Australia with the most up-to-date, advanced knowledge and treatment options on suicide prevention.

To achieve that, we’ve assembled 10 highly respected experts on suicide into one online specialised Summit.

Over 2 days, May 16 & 17, you’ll have free access to all Summit sessions, live online. You will then have on-demand streaming access for an additional three weeks, from May 18 to June 7.

One of the most powerful resources we have to reduce suicide is our frontline mental health workforce. We believe that by providing every mental health practitioner in Australia with global best-practice knowhow and skills, we can tangibly reduce suicide rates in Australia.

We see our role as bringing global best-practice education to Australian practitioners – for free. Your role is taking the time to learn and apply.

As we endeavour to save valuable lives, we look forward to seeing you at the online 2020 Suicide Prevention Summit.

https://www.mentalhealthacademy.com.au/suicideprevention

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Nominate a superstar for a LiFE Award today!

Do you know someone who is doing incredible work for suicide prevention? Nominate them for a LiFE Award today!

Held annually, the LiFE Awards are the premier event in the suicide prevention sector to acknowledge and pay tribute to those on the frontline, putting their hearts and souls into their work. 

There are a variety of categories for both individuals and organisations.

Nominations close 13 March 2020 and the recipients will be awarded at the National Suicide Prevention Conference on 22 July 2020 in Canberra.  

Leadership Award
The Leadership Award recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond daily operations within the year of judging. For more information and criteria click here

LiFEtime Achievement Award
This award is the highest of accolades for outstanding, sustained contribution to the sector. It is not presented annually, but rather at the discretion of the Suicide Prevention Australia Board, to recognise merit and ongoing achievement. For more information and criteria click here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award recognises an organisation or individual who has provided a unique and creative program, partnership or service that encompasses a holistic and social view of health and suicide prevention. For more information and criteria click here

Communities Matter Award
The Communities Matter Award has two categories: individual and organisation. The focus is grassroots work for the community, by the community. For more information and criteria click here

Emerging Researcher Award
The Emerging Researcher Award recognises contributions by an Australian researcher (individual or group) who are early in their career. Research must demonstrate best practice values and outcomes that drive improvements in suicide prevention. For more information and criteria click here.

Media Award
The Media Award recognises an individual or organisation that has achieved sustained coverage, adhered to safe reporting guidelines and creatively utilised different channels to communicate. This award includes print, digital, social media or artwork. For more information and criteria click here.

Workplace Award
The Workplace Award recognises a program, business or employer that promotes suicide prevention in the workplace or contributes towards suicide prevention within the community more broadly. For more information and criteria click here.

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Suicide Prevention Australia Turning Points Panel

27 Feb 2020 | 5.30-7.00pm | Brisbane

Venue: MATES in Construction

Level 1/35 Astor Terrace, Spring Hill, QLD

Limited tickets are available so be sure to register today.

Watch the video from our Turning Points Sydney Policy Panel.

Join our policy panel as we focus on practical solutions

Over the last twelve months, people all over Australia have been impacted by natural disasters including bushfires, floods and extreme drought. The government is focusing on the long term mental health impacts of these events and we want to hear from you about how we can tackle emerging suicide risks and build a happy and safe Australian community.  

Suicide Prevention Australia’s Turning Points: Imagine a world without suicide white paper, co-written with KPMG, examines emerging social and economic trends and their likely effect on Australians in the coming decade. The impact of changes in housing affordability, the gig economy and relationships must be creatively tackled if we are to reduce suicide risk. 

Join us at this panel discussion event to become part of the problem solving effort. The event will bring together leading minds from the not for profit sector, business, research, and people with lived experience to discuss the three theme areas of the Turning Points report.

  • Dealing with the debt crisis
  • Navigating the gig economy
  • Friendship and family: social isolation in the information age

Hear from distinguished speakers and make your voice heard on these critical issues. 

Speaker Panel

John Brady, MATES in Construction
John is married to Linda and they have five children and 6 grandchildren. He has been with MATES in Construction Queensland since 2008 and helped develop the national award winning “Mates in Construction” program in suicide prevention. John strongly believes that suicide is a preventable problem particularly if we can get Mates helping Mates. The effectiveness of this approach has also seen the creation of MATES in Energy and MATES in Mining. John holds a Master’s in leadership, Bachelor of Education as well as undertaking considerable post graduate study in organisational psychology, theology, biblical anthropology and suicidology.

John comes from a diverse work background having spent 20 years as a catholic school principal and supervisor of schools; owned a wine company, a leadership and management consultancy and has spent many years coaching young men in sport. John also spends 4 – 6 weeks a year in central Africa conducting collaborative leadership programs and establishing micro economic projects in poor communities.

Andrew Anderson, CEO, United Synergies
Andrew Anderson joined US as CEO in May 2019. Prior to taking up the reigns in this role, Andrew was the General Manager Medical and Southern Operations with CareFlight NSW, where he was exposed to the rewards and challenges of working in the ‘for purpose space’. In this role, he was responsible for CareFlight’s NSW Operations, National Medical and Corporate Services.

Prior to joining CareFlight NSW, Andrew spent 15 years in Senior Leadership roles in the industrial services, financial and manufacturing sectors. Andrew’s qualifications include: Company Directors Program, Australian Institute of Company Directors; Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management, Harvard Business School, Boston; Advanced Diploma of Business Management, University of New England; and Master of Business Administration (MBA), Australian Graduate School of Management.

Ivan Frkovic, Commissioner, Queensland Mental Health Commission
Ivan Frkovic was appointed Commissioner from 1 July 2017 and brings substantial policy, academic and patient-centred experience to the role.

He was Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Operations for Aftercare, one of Australia’s oldest non-government mental health organisations. His responsibilities included leading Aftercare’s national operations and overseeing the development and implementation of new programs and services.

Prior to his five years with Aftercare, Ivan held senior government positions including as Director, Mental Health Programs and Reforms in the Department of Communities, where he was responsible for policy development, funding and reform of the non-government mental health sector in Queensland.

As Commissioner, he has led the development of Shifting minds, Queensland’s renewed Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023.

Moderated by Rebecca Burdick Davies. Director, Policy, Advocacy & Government Relations, Suicide Prevention Australia

Register now to secure your ticket!

Suicide Prevention Australia remembers those we have lost to suicide and acknowledges the suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. We are brought together by experience and are unified by hope.

Suicide Prevention Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders past, present and emerging.

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families


‘Better off with you’ Campaign – A suicide prevention initiative

The launch of the Better Off With You (BOWY) campaign was held on Tuesday 21st January 2020 – the video clips produced by two courageous from our region who have a lived experience of suicide are simply incredible.  This 6 week campaign (which is being managed by SANE Australia) really has the potential to make a huge difference for people who are struggling right now.  It can also really help others to understand what it’s like to think you’re a burden on others, then find hope and help.  By sharing and watching these videos we can smash stigma in our community and save lives.

Below are the links to the very powerful stories for our region (3 mins each).   Nic is from the Isaac region and Damon is from Mackay.

https://betteroffwithyou.org.au/damons-story

https://betteroffwithyou.org.au/nics-story

https://betteroffwithyou.org.au/stephs-story

You can also 30 second videos, and one combined video, on the Better Off With You website at https://betteroffwithyou.org.au  These will be shared through social media and TV ads.  There will also be information in print press and a billboard in the centre of Mackay. They also need to be shared by us!

The success of this campaign is now mostly dependent on us sharing this information as widely as possible. Please share these through your networks at work and through personal social media accounts. A Stakeholder Pack is available with lots of information about the campaign, how to share this information safely and how to get more help.  Please also share this email, where relevant and appropriate.

Here are some social media tiles and captions to use with them for social media.  You’ll find more in the Stakeholder Pack attached.

This is a valuable opportunity for us to reach people who are struggling and change perceptions that can save lives. Please take a few minutes to share this vital information so as many people as possible in our community can benefit from it.

Regards,

The SPCAP Team

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For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

Resources for Professionals

The Australian bushfire crisis has impacted millions, putting individuals, families and entire communities at higher risk of trauma and psychological/emotional distress.
 
In response, many mental health professionals across the country are putting their hands up to assist those impacted by the disaster.
 
To support their efforts, we’ve created a collection of freely accessible educational resources focusing on disaster mental health topics, including:

  • Psychological First Aid
  • Understanding the Traumatic Effects of Disasters
  • Working with Young People Exposed to Natural Disasters
  • Suicide Prevention with Disaster- and Trauma-affected Clients
  • Working with Traumatised Clients and,
  • Early Intervention for Children Who Experience Trauma.

These resources are entirely free and available here:

https://www.mentalhealthacademy.com.au/bushfire-resources

We hope this collection will reach as many mental health professionals as possible and assist in their endeavours to provide to our struggling communities. So, we encourage you to share the link with your peers – and encourage them to do the same.  

If you are currently involved in helping those affected by the bushfire crisis, we would like to express our gratitude for the much-needed support you are providing. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Pedro Gondim

Chief Executive Officer
Mental Health Academy.

PS If you have any questions about our free educational resources, don’t hesitate to email us and we will respond as soon as possible.
 
PPS Below are some useful links to leading industry organisations providing additional resources and services related to the current bushfire crisis:

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 pm – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help helpline@sane.org

SANE Australia Helpline  Chat –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10 am-10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) 1800 187 263

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families