Out and About with the Chief Psychiatrist – Pilbara

Recently the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Nathan Gibson and Ms Cate Wray, Consultant, Statutory Authorisations and Approvals  visited the Pilbara Region. Dr Gibson and Ms Wray were accompanied by Dr Roland Main, Director of Psychiatry, WA Country Health Service, and Mr Liam Avery, A/Regional Manager Mental Health.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss the role of the Chief Psychiatrist, the activities being conducted within the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, and to provide the opportunity for staff to raise any issues related to standards of care.

The visit to South Hedland and Karratha Mental Health Services was extremely valuable in terms of seeing and hearing from clinicians and staff what is happening and the challenges of working in regional services.  The Chief Psychiatrist also met with Aboriginal Elders and local Non-Government Organisations in South Hedland, Child Adolescent Mental Health Services and Aboriginal Health Services in Roebourne.

Further visits to regional areas are being planned.

Resource and training opportunity for clinicians engaging with carers

The Chief Psychiatrist wishes to share information about an important resource and training opportunity for engaging with the family and friends (carers) of people experiencing mental health issues. The “Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness (the Practical Guide), is a nationwide initiative developed to increase engagement with the supportive family members and friends of a person experiencing mental health issues.

The Practical Guide has been developed by HelpingMinds and national partners, utilising a co-design approach with people with lived experience of mental health issues, either as consumers or carers, and clinicians. Evidence indicates, when clinical staff are able to engage with the service user’s carers, the therapeutic outcomes for patients and their family/carers will greatly improve.

HelpingMinds has been commissioned to provide Western Australian mental health services with the training and support required to embed the principles of the Practical Guide into service delivery. Consequently, this training assists services in meeting Standard 7: Carers, of the National Mental Health Standards.

The requirement from mental health services will be to:

  • Allocate management to work through the Practical Guide Checklist with HelpingMinds;
  • Enable the attendance of frontline staff at four training modules, each approximately 30 minutes (2 hours in total);
  • Engage in conversations with carers that are critical to ensuring they have the full picture of what is occurring for their friend/family member.

The four (4) training modules include:

  • Module 1: Identifying carers
  • Module 2: Confidentiality and information sharing
  • Module 3: Acknowledging carers within your service
  • Module 4: Services for carers

The modules cover the 6 Partnership Standards in the Practical Guide:

  • Partnership Standard 1: Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact, or as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Partnership Standard 2: Staff are carer aware and trained in carer engagement strategies.
  • Partnership Standard 3: Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing of information are in place.
  • Partnership Standard 4: Defined staff positions are allocated for carers in all service settings.
  • Partnership Standard 5: A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with relevant range of information across the care settings.
  • Partnership Standard 6: A range of carer support services is available.

Click here to access a brochure and booking form for the Practical Guide training.

If you have any questions, please contact Taryn Houghton, Head of Community Engagement at HelpingMinds, at taryn.houghton@helpingminds.org.au or 08 9427 7100.