A draft mental health report has identified the Goulburn-Yass area as experiencing some of the highest rates of suicide in the state.
The draft Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan has revealed Goulburn – Yass, Shoalhaven, South Coast and Snowy Mountains experience “particularly high rates and spikes” of suicide.
Relatively high psychological distress and a high prevalence of mental health was also recorded in the South Eastern NSW Local Health District.
In the Goulburn Mulwaree, high rates of self harm among Aboriginal and young people were also recorded.
The plan, which is open for feedback, has been put together by COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD).
This is the first time a plan has been prepared between a primary care organisation (COORDINARE) and local public health services in the region.
Prepared by a working group, participants included senior mental health, planning officials and people with mental illnesses.
According to CEO of the South Eastern NSW PHN Dianne Kitcher, the blueprint aims to establish a collaborative action plan between the health bodies to improve mental health services over the next five years.
“It focuses on the ways in which our organisations can work together with consumers, carers and other stakeholders to reduce fragmentation, address shared priorities and establish joined up systems and pathways,” she said.
Key service gaps include:
- A lack of information for the community about mental health services.
- Limited access to many types of services.
- An inequitable spread of services.
- Lack of coordinated suicide prevention services.
- Limited access to culturally appropriate mental health services.
Physical health care, specialist focus, individual community support and low intensity digital services have all been identified as intervention methods.
The report concluded earlier years would be spent laying the groundwork to form key partnerships, with models to be implemented in about two years.
“We want to work together on how we get a more equitable distribution of services across the entire region, but that’s something that will happen over time rather than being a short term result,” COORDINARE Director Strategy and Performance Andrew Gow said.
“In order to achieve that, we need to hear from local people – including local service providers – whether our draft plan is on track.”
The final report is expected to be released at the end of the year. Mr Gow said the report might take longer to finalise as the priority is “getting the plan right”.
“We want the plan to make a difference to local mental health services, to make them more coordinated and more responsive to local people’s needs,” he said.
- Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help in a crisis.