A game-changing new Shepparton mental health service held a networking event on Tuesday 10 April, with more than 30 local health professionals gathering to learn more. For the past two weeks, HeadtoHelp Shepparton has been providing free and confidential health advice to local people experiencing mental health challenges.
Staffed by a professional mental health team, HeadtoHelp works to understand the types of support a person may need before connecting them to the most appropriate help. To date, the service has delivered 73 sessions to 46 people referred via the 1800 number, GP referrals or walk-ins.
Operated by APMHA HealthCare, HeadtoHelp is free for anyone regardless of age, background or whether they have a Medicare card. ‘‘We also welcome anyone with a concern or issue that is causing them worry, to come to our service,’’ APMHA chief executive Renee Hayden said.
For GPs unsure of the severity of their patients’ mental health concerns, HeadtoHelp can also complete a comprehensive assessment. At the networking event, Shepparton health professionals learnt more about HeadtoHelp’s distinctive intake and assessment model and the treatment options available. Murray Primary Health Network’s chief executive Matt Jones said the event aimed to strengthen collaborative working relationships in Shepparton.
‘‘We know that for our health system to be effective, it must be more connected and co-ordinated,’’ he said. ‘‘While HeadtoHelp is already linked in with local services, this event will further expand and strengthen the opportunities for shared care.’’
While waiting lists or the cost of mental health services can stop people from seeking help, HeadtoHelp offers same-day support. Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said it was crucial to have services such as HeadtoHelp in regional areas.
‘‘People who need help can’t afford to wait weeks to be seen,’’ he said. ‘‘HeadtoHelp removes a lot of barriers, including travel and transport in more rural areas. ‘‘It’s fantastic to see the Federal Government and Murray PHN investing in HeadtoHelp and demonstrating a firm commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all Victorians.’’
HeadtoHelp is free for people of any age and can be accessed directly, or by calling 1800 595 212 between 8.30 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. The service is located at Alaya House, 3A Nixon St, Shepparton.