Rural focus for Mental Health commissioner

NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley (The Courier)

The government is channelling more resources to rural areas to address mental health issues.

The NSW Mental Health Commission recently conducted community consultation across the state to understand how people were experiencing mental health care and to identify priorities for change.

Commissioner John Feneley says the government has since implemented a $115 million plan to improve mental health services in rural areas.

“The further you go in terms of regional and remote areas the harder it often is for people to access services and it’s not easy to change that dynamic overnight so we need to think of other ways in which we can make sure that people get access to the type of care they need,” he said.

“We’re making sure that we integrate care, so that the care someone might receive from a local GP is integrated across the community and into the specialist services available from a local hospital.

“That would involve us better supporting GPs to do work in their local communities and to feel more confident taking on some types of work that they might not currently be focusing on.”

The government established the NSW Mental health commission in 2012 to ensure mental health reforms would extend beyond the life of one parliament and one budget cycle.

Appointed in 2012, John Feneley has spent the last two years trying to improve mental health care across the state. He believes strong emphasis needs to be placed on preventative measures.

“We need to move our mental health system from a system that is largely crisis focused to one which is much more focused in the community on prevention and early intervention,” he explained...

Read more The Courier 15 January 2015

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