It seems as though every other week we are reminded about another awareness day, week or month. We hear about World No Tobacco day, World AIDS Day, Movember, as well as the lesser known Swallowing Awareness Day and Healthy Hips Day. There is a risk that we might develop awareness day fatigue, but awareness days, weeks and months are important.
These days pierce our everyday routine and encourage us to stop and think about bigger issues; they educate and promote discussion.
This October, we celebrate Mental Health Month to encourage us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of removing stigma surrounding mental health conditions. We have timed the launch of our first suite of HealthPathways Melbourne mental health pathways to coincide with Mental Health Month. As the pages go live I’ve had a chance to reflect on my own journey in this work.
Our first suite of pages consists of both condition and referral pages, and includes Depression in Adults, Anxiety in Adults, Suicide Prevention, Self-harm, and Medications for Moderate or Severe Depression in Adults. We hope that these pages will help many GPs navigating the mental health system to support their patients with these conditions.
As highlighted in a recent ABC news article, mental health issues are the number one reason people are going to a GP. Not only are the cases often complex, but navigating the system makes this work even more challenging. As GPs, we want to find the appropriate care for our patients and we try very hard to help them access the services they need in a timely manner.
We are extremely grateful for the huge amount of goodwill, time, expertise and support all the mental health organisations, individual clinicians and Primary Health Network staff have given us in developing these first mental health pathways for HealthPathways Melbourne. We will continue to work with our clinical community in Melbourne’s east and north west to ensure this suite of pathways meets the needs of people living with mental health conditions in our region.
Of course, during the pathway development process, feedback has helped identify some additional areas of need for our plan. Upcoming pathways driven by our clinical community include carer and family support, a mental health resource page and a dual diagnosis resource page. Dual diagnosis means a patient has both a mental health disorder and a coexisting substance abuse issue.
We are now looking forward to starting our second phase of mental health pages, which will focus on the psychotic disorders and bipolar affective disorder, and continuing to collaborate with our fantastic subject matter experts.
By Dr Kirsten Van Haaster, GP Clinical Editor, HealthPathways Melbourne
Disclaimer: This article was provided by HealthPathways Melbourne. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.