Let’s Talk About Children – Workforce Pilot Program

Let’s Talk About Children – Workforce Pilot Program

Alaya Partners has joined forces with the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health – Emerging Minds to develop a hybrid training program for mental health clinicians interested in working to improve the mental health outcomes of children ( aged 0-12).  Alaya has sponsored this workforce pilot program in hopes to:

  • Expand the current clinical scope of regional mental health clinicians working with Alaya’s clinical partner APMHA HealthCare Ltd.
  • Minimise the gaps in available and appropriate mental health services for children in regional Victoria
  • Expand this program, if successful to other regions in Australia where gaps in available and appropriate mental health clinicians are evident

The Emerging Minds National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health initiative aims to  improve the mental health outcomes of children by assisting professionals within the field refine their skill in identifying, assessing and supporting children at risk of mental health conditions. Within this partnership, Emerging Minds has provided a blended 3 month program consisting of eLearning, reflective assessments and face to face workshops. This program aims to inform and support mental health clinicians working with children in PHN programs. This pilot program has now commenced and a decision on whether to expand this program to other areas of Australia will likely occur in 2020.

Image Credit: Suzanne Berton via Flickr Creative Commons

Mental Health & Hep C in General Practice

Mental Health & Hep C in General Practice

Alaya Partners has consulted with Gilead Sciences Inc. to deliver specialised training to general practice in the Murray PHN and Western Victoria PHN regions. This workshop expanded on Alaya’s successful GP training ‘Mental Health in General Practice – Simplifying the process in every day practice’ by incorporating atypical client cohorts at risk of/are experiencing mental illness or Hepatitis C.

Australia is leading the world in eliminating Hepatitis C (Hep C) and general practice continue to play a leading role in the treatment. Both Murray PHN and Western Victoria PHN regions have been identified as districts where treatment screening and linking to care is lagging. Similarly, referrals and information sent to Alaya’s clinical partner APMHA HealthCare indicate that further support and education in general practice around mental health was also warranted.

In response to this evidence, this workshop was developed and made available to GPS, GP Registrars, Practice Nurses and Practice Managers in order to improve overall diagnosis and referrals in Hepatitis C and Mental Health. This training focused on considering atypical Hep C and Mental Health cohorts at risk within a rural primary care environment (RACGP & CPD points were awarded). By redefining what today’s at risk populations may look like, the training aims to:

  • Highlight the importance of reviewing and updating processes and systems in a general practice setting to ensure optimal use of software and good clinical care
  • Provide an update of referral pathways for both Hep C and Mental Health
  • Arm general practitioners with relevant and appropriate resources.

After 9 sessions successful workshops, Alaya Partners and Gilead Science have continued to work collaboratively in the development of further resources, education and events for general practice.

Image Credit: GotCredit via Flickr Creative Commons

Building regional capacity to support mental illness

Building regional capacity to support mental illness

Alaya Partners has been funded by Murray PHN to build community and sector capacity to respond to mental illness effectively. This funding was distributed in response to this regions most recent population health needs analysis. The analysis indicated a need to improve service access and community understanding for clients living with more severe/complex mental illness. As an active provider of education and resources in the Goulburn Valley region, Alaya has responded by developing the following support:

  • Training packages to primary care practitioners. This aims to increase their confidence, skills and knowledge when working with clients with severe/complex mental illness.
  • Update and refine current medical software templates to ensure they support and guide primary care practitioners. This includes information to support clients with co-morbidity and tips to align care plans to recovery oriented principals
  • Implement consistent approaches to client assessment and support in the region. This was done by introducing the Recovery Star model to mental health clinicians working with severe/complex mental illness.
  • Deliver Mental Health First Aid training to support networks (carers, family and friends) of those clients living with mental illness. This aims to better equip them to understand and support their loved ones and/or clients.

Overall, the implementation of more effective support around general practice and primary care practitioners (as service advocates and referrers) has improve the accuracy of mental health pathway access for clients in Goulburn Valley. Working with primary care to improve medical software templates has also improved the comprehensiveness of Mental Health Treatment Plans conducted on behalf of clients.

Image Credit: Duncan Cunningham-Reid via Flickr Creative Commons

Creating Alaya House

Creating Alaya House

In 2019, Alaya Partners and our clinical services partner, APMHA HealthCare, realised our vision to open a “bricks and mortar” mental health service in rural Victoria. People in Shepparton and surround areas can now access high quality mental health services from our beautifully appointed new clinic, Alaya House.

APMHA HealthCare’s established local mental health workforce that provides Murray PHN funded Psychological Therapy Services and Primary Mental Health Clinical Care Coordination (PTS / PMHCCC) are now stationed at Alaya House.

Alaya House’s 25-person capacity training room means Alaya Partners will be able to increase workforce and community training and education in the Murray PHN region. The Group Room (15 person capacity) is now accessible to APMHA HealthCare staff, giving staff the opportunity to provide comprehensive psychosocial education programs. Both areas of these areas are available for hired through Alaya Partners.

The Recovery Hub will provide a physical presence in the region, house our established local mental health workforce and expand our services to include GPs experienced in working with complex clients and NDIS services.

Alaya Partners, as part of a consortium with our clinical services partner, APMHA HealthCare and two pharmacotherapy prescribing GPs are the successful recipients of a 2019 Victorian Regional Readiness Fund grant. This grant will enable our consortium to:

  • Become an accredited NDIS provider
  • Upskill local NDIS providers in working with people with a psychosocial disability
  • Upskill our current workforce
  • Provide opportunity for our partnering GPs to work within NDIS

Alaya Partners will closely monitor and evaluate Alaya House in order to refine a business and service model for future roll-out in other regional areas where APMHA is contracted to provide services. Our consortium’s vision is to:

“Provide holistic, team-based, mental health stepped care for people experiencing mild mental illness through to psychosocial disability”.

This Victorian Government investment will position Alaya House as one stop shop for people with a mental illness or psychosocial disability and increase the region’s capacity to service NDIS plans with high quality mental health services.

SWSPHN’s e-Mental Health Toolkit

SWSPHN’s e-Mental Health Toolkit

Alaya’s consultants were commissioned by South Western Sydney PHN (SWSPHN) to develop an e-Mental Health Toolkit for consumers, carers and PHN funded mental health services within the region.

For our first step, we reviewed available e-Mental Health interventions including telephone support, online chat support, peer forums, structured online interventions and mobile apps, categorising each on their suitability for different cohorts:

  • Adults
  • Children and young people
  • Parents and families
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Culturally and Linguistically diverse (CALD)
  • LGBTIQ communities

Each intervention was assessed within the stepped care model framework, identifying interventions suitable for people with mild – moderate or moderate – severe mental illness.

We consulted the sector on their use and knowledge of e-Mental Health resources and platforms. Through clinicians providing input via face-to-face, teleconference or telephone interviews and an online survey, we identified barriers to clinicians adopting e-Mental Health resources as an adjunct to face-to-face interventions:

  • Clinician’s time, capacity and awareness of resource
  • Lack of skills, experience and confidence in using e-Mental Health interventions
  • Difficult to easily identify reputable, evidenced-based resources
  • Lack of cohort-specific resources.

We summarised our work to date in the e-Mental Health Scoping and Consultation Report for SWSPHN. Armed with this report, SWSPHN built the e-Mental Health Toolkit, a user-friendly online navigation resource for consumers, carers and the sector.

Image Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker via Flickr Creative Commons