15.07.2020 09:04 Age: 143 days

Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service sees country patients avoid transfer

WA Country Health Service Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service Clinical Nurse Consultants.

Residents of rural and regional Western Australia are receiving specialist mental health care closer to home and avoiding transfers out of regions, thanks to the WA Country Health Service’s (WACHS) Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service.

Connected across 83 sites spanning 2.2 million square kilometres, the 24/7 support service has supported frontline clinicians to care for more than 1000 patients in its first year of operation.

Of these cases, more than 80 per cent have been able to receive care in their local area, close to family, friends and broader support networks.

WACHS Command Centre Director Donna Rogers said to further support on-the-ground mental health services, WACHS rolled out the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service in July of last year.

Through the organisation’s Command Centre, the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service supports rural and remote clinicians to care for people of all ages experiencing a mental health crisis or drug and alcohol issues.

The service also provides mental health training and information to 83 hospitals and health services as well as Silver Chain facilities.

“There are more than 20 mental health experts manning the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service and their work and that of our frontline clinicians has undoubtedly seen positive outcomes for residents of country WA,” Ms Rogers said.

“We know communities have been in a heightened state of anxiety through the COVID-19 pandemic which is why the use of technology enabled mental health services during this time has been vital.”