Mental illness is one of the highest burdens of disease in Australia behind cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and the entry point for treatment for most Australians is their general practitioner.
Despite the prevalence of mental health issues at the primary care level, access to services is not equitable, with Australians living in metropolitan areas most likely to receive Medicare-subsidised mental health services over those located in rural, regional and remote areas.
WA Primary Health Alliance collaborates with other key stakeholders to support integrated planning and service delivery in mental health and suicide prevention in Western Australia, that will ensure our three PHNs can effectively respond to the primary healthcare needs of their respective regions.
Services are commissioned in alignment with a Stepped Care Model, which seeks to match and adapt the level of intervention to the current needs of the consumer. Our treatment services reach people of all ages, and promote early intervention to reduce the impact of mental illness.
We are also harnessing innovative ways to reach those in need using digital mental health, such as the Practitioner Online Referral Treatment Service (PORTS) that provides telephone and online treatments by registered mental health professionals to people who are financially disadvantaged and unable to access traditional services.
General practitioners are the most frequently accessed health professional by those who attempt or die by suicide.
Mood disorders (including depression) are the most common contributing condition in reported suicides in Australia.
Thus, enhancing the recognition and effective management of depression and suicidality in primary care settings is a key pillar within WA Primary Health Alliance’s overall suicide prevention strategy.
We are implementing The Alliance Against Depression framework within two Australian Government funded suicide prevention trial sites; Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana, and the Midwest.
The Alliance Against Depression is an evidence-based approach to optimising the care of people with depression and preventing suicidal behaviour through a collaborative community-based intervention framework.
Find out how you can be involved in the Alliance Against Depression.
Suicide prevention trials
As part of the Australian Government’s national suicide prevention program, WA Primary Health Alliance oversees three Suicide Prevention Trial Sites in the Kimberley, Midwest, and Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana, all areas with high suicide rates over an extended period.
The objective is to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia.
Find out more about the suicide prevention trials: