State & territory jurisdictional reports: Activity relating to mental health reform prior to the implementation of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan

20. Improve linkages and coordination between mental health, alcohol and other drug and primary care services to facilitate earlier identification of, and improved referral and treatment for, mental and physical health problems

Page last updated: December 2010

Department of Health and Ageing

  • The Department of Health and Ageing funded the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) to develop a national clinical guide to comorbidity service delivery in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector. The Guidelines provide a practical guide for AOD workers in the management of a range of mental health conditions in AOD treatment settings. The Guidelines, entitled Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings, were released in December 2009. A training package has also been developed to facilitate the implementation of the Guidelines and is available at the Guidelines website.
  • The National Comorbidity Collaboration has been established to assist the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to focus on comorbidity issues and identify opportunities for progressing shared priorities and interests on a whole-of-government basis.
  • Improved Services for People with Drug and Alcohol Problems and Mental Illness initiative (Improved Services initiative) - aims to build the capacity of non-government drug and alcohol treatment services to effectively address and treat coinciding mental illness and substance abuse. It forms part of the Commonwealth's component of the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006 - 2011. Top of page

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • Personal Helpers and Mentors: As at to 31 January 2010 PHaMs has assisted 2550 (28.6%) participants who had co-morbid conditions.
  • The Family Support Program provides a range services available to people in need, including Forgotten Australians and former child migrants. Counselling and support services can help them deal with the inter-generational consequences of institutionalised abuse. Service providers will refer clients to specialist mental health or other intensive services as required.

Department of Veterans' Affairs

  • The Department contracted the Australian General Practice Network to provide education and training about the drug and mental health needs of veterans in the Australian community as part of the 'Can Do' Initiative – Managing Mental Health and Substance Use in General Practice. This education and training includes resources to enhance the knowledge and skills of primary care and community health professionals and allied health workers and aims to ensure those health professionals in general practice, community health teams and designated veterans services are familiar with, and sensitive to, the particular needs of members of the veteran community. Top of page

Department of Defence

  • The Department is working closely with the Australian General Practice Network to develop and deliver online training for mental health professionals, including General Practitioners, in accordance with the Better A Department of Defence.