As Chief Psychiatrist, I remain acutely aware of the incredible work being done across mental health services to provide safe services for consumers during the COVID pandemic.
Services have all developed their COVID-safe plans, but the experience in other jurisdictions highlights the pressure on healthcare systems that emerges when COVID-19 proliferates in the community.
The Chief Psychiatrist thanks all staff – clinical, non-clinical and service leaders, who will be called upon to extend themselves as COVID-19 inevitably places increasing pressure on our mental health services over the coming months.
The staff of the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist are committed to advising and supporting clinicians and services throughout this time.
Office of the Chief Psychiatrist Activities and COVID-19 Response
OCP COVID-19 FAQs for mental health services (Version 2, published 14/03/22)
Chief Psychiatrist’s Mental Health Community of Practice – Inpatient Care in COVID-19 (information session 23/03/22)
COVID-19 Mental Health Directives and Guides
COVID-19 Mental Health Infection Control Directions
The following Directive issued under the Public Health Act 2016 remains in force, and specifically deals with mental health infection control when Authorised Mental Health Practitioners (AMHPs), medical practitioners and psychiatrists are conducting mental health assessments under section 48 or mental health examinations under section 79 of the Mental Health Act 2014:
Mental Health Infection Control Directions (No. 4) (published 04/03/22)
Clozapine monitoring during COVID-19
The Western Australian Therapeutic Advisory Group and Western Australian Psychotropic Drugs Committee have provided the following advice on Clozapine Monitoring during COVID-19, available at this link:
WATAG and PDC – Advice on Clozapine monitoring during COVID-19 (PDF) (WA Health)
Management of acute behavioural disturbance in COVID-19
This guideline addresses the safe care and management of consumers presenting with psychological distress and acute behavioural disturbance who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and asymptomatic people who fulfil the criteria for mandatory self-isolation.
Guideline: Management of acute behavioural disturbance in COVID-19 (version 3.1 published 02/05/22, WA Department of Health)
Telehealth guide for practitioners
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has released a Telehealth Guide for Practitioners which outlines their expectations of how registered health practitioners will use telehealth in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professional Practice Guideline: Telehealth in psychiatry (published November 2021, RANZCP)
AHPRA’s Telehealth Guide for Practitioners (published April 2020, AHPRA)
Resources on this website are the most recent currently available and updates will be added as available.
For further information, please consult the WA Department of Health website, or call the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
If you are a consumer or carer looking for information on mental health and COVID-19, please go to the ‘Think Mental Health‘ website. If you have a query about receiving treatment during the pandemic, please contact your care provider.
Dr Nathan Gibson