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SDHB Welcomes New Mental Health Guideline

Tuesday 22 July 2008

SDHB Welcomes New Mental Health Guideline

Southland District Health Board is welcoming a new national guideline which identifies primary care and general practices as the place where common mental health problems can and should be managed, said Southland DHB Mental Health Services General Manager Chris Nolan.

The new guideline, which was launched by the Ministry of Health and New Zealand Guidelines Group last week, aims at improving the assessment of common mental health disorders and the management of depression in primary care.

Mental disorders are common in the primary care setting, with the recent MaGPIe study which researched primary care mental health,  finding that as many as one third of adults visiting their GP experienced a common disorder such as depression within the previous 12 months prior to their consultation.

“The guideline’s intent reinforces the work of SDHB’s primary mental health service, which was developed in 2006 and implemented in 2007,” Mr Nolan said.

The Primary Mental Health Team, made up of highly skilled and experienced mental health professionals, provides a service where patients in the Southland District with a common condition (such as anxiety or depression) can be referred by their GP to see a mental health nurse or other member of the team in a general practice for brief intervention.

 The team works in strong collaboration with Primary Health Organisation (PHO) primary mental health services and GP Practices.

“Brief Intervention consists of up to five sessions in a 12 month period in which the patient can be assessed, receive treatment support and if needed, be referred to other appropriate agencies,” said Mr Nolan.

“As a team we work with all four Southland PHOs and provide total coverage to GPs in Hokonui, Wakatipu, and Takitimu and are working towards providing full coverage to Invercargill practices.

 "The support for mental health initiatives from our PHOs is outstanding. We have some of the most innovative PHO Boards and GPs in the country when it comes to mental health primary care development."

Mr Nolan said he welcomed the acknowledgement of appropriate mental health support in the primary care sector, given that many disorders could be treated and managed in the primary care setting, with support as required from secondary specialist (District Health Board) community mental health services.



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