Funds for Flinders mental health project

A Flinders University project assisting the health sector to support people with psychosocial disability will now have the opportunity to continue, having received almost $1million in funding from the federal government’s Department of Health.

The project, led by Associate Professor Tania Shelby-James and Professor Richard Reed from the Discipline of General Practices in the College of Medicine and Public Health, builds on work the Flinders team has been doing with the mental health sector since 2013.

“This new funding is to provide a range of sector support and capacity building work to assist psychosocial support service providers to implement the Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program,” says Associate Professor Shelby-James.

Associate Professor Tania Shelby-James and Professor Richard Reed

Commencing in 2021, the Psychosocial Support Program replaced a number of federal services and is designed to support people with mental illness who need short-term help and are not part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Assisting Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and community organisations, the work undertaken will include the development of training resources, support and training on evidence-based practices to support people with psychosocial needs and workshops for front line mental health workers.

The project will also provide advice to PHNs to ensure the services commissioned align with the program guidance, consult with mental health stakeholders in relation to psychosocial supports and work with federal and state/territory governments and the National Disability Insurance Agency to ensure psychosocial support services have timely access to the state mental health services in Australia.

“There have been substantial challenges within the mental health sector over the last five years since the rollout of the NDIS and the workforce remains a significant challenge with an ongoing need for training and support of new staff,” says Associate Professor Shelby-James.

“Continued specialised support is needed by the PHNs and mental health workforce to continue to address these challenges and successfully support people with complex mental health issues in the community.

“Extending this project in line with the funding provided to PHNs will help to ensure that the Psychosocial Support Program workforce continues to be supported during the remaining 12 months of the program leading to better outcomes for people living with severe mental ill health.”

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College of Medicine and Public Health Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute