MENTAL HEALTH FORUM HOLDS FIRST MEETING
By Reporter Kerrin Thomas & Photo Journalist Gavin Coote
Updated Sat Jul 6, 2013 2:58pm AEST
Eight mental health agencies have met in Tamworth for the first time to discuss the roll-out of a new program.
The Partners In Recovery program brings together agencies operating across the region, including Challenge Services, North West Region Community Care and Billabong Clubhouse.
The head of the agency leading, Pamela Rutledge from Richmond PRA, says finding the people who need help is a big part of the program’s focus.
Ms Rutledge says an estimated 450 people are in need of help in the New England Health District.
The program will tailor treatment and recovery plans for those suffering from mental illness.
Ms Rutledge says the program is trying to reach out to those who’ve not sought help before, or who’ve had a bad experience trying to find the right care.
“One of the key agencies involved is the New England Medicare Local, and so that gives us that connections to GP’s,” she said.
“We know that some of these consumers may be in contact, or their family may be in contact, with a GP and seeking to get the help then need, to reach out, to find people, and to engage with them.”
Pat Rutledge says the co-ordinated approach from the consortium of health care providers is an innovative one.
The program has $5.2 million in Commonwealth funding, and will operate for the next three years until 2016.
The Independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, was present for the first meeting of the Partners In Recovery consortium.
He says the flexibility of the program’s approach is refreshing.
“Not every person with a mental illness has the same issues, so this program will use existing organisations through the New England North West to embrace those people and actually deliver needs-based funding, which is its secret.”
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