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About the award

Mental Health is a priority area for the NSW Government, with one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experiencing a mental illness in any year*.

This award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care within programs which display:

  • best practice, excellence and innovation in mental health service delivery
  • development of consumer-focused services
  • positive mental health and wellbeing through consumer and carer participation
  • improved prevention and early intervention.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.

Winner - ​Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District: Space Camp


Transcript - Winner - Space Camp

Finalist - Murrumbidgee Local Health District: Creating positive cultures


Transcripts -  Creating positive cultures

Murrumbidgee Local Health District strives to improve the quality and safety of Inpatient Mental Health care by reducing the number of episodes of seclusion, time spent in seclusion and the number of episodes of seclusion during a care episode.

The Creating positive cultures -  reducing coercive practices project began in 2017 following a highly publicised tragic death in seclusion.

Cultural change was required to view seclusion as treatment failure rather than a treatment option, with a strong focus on patient centred and trauma informed care led by a strong leadership group.

The project developed strategies to manage and prevent incidents that may lead to seclusion, including collaborative care plans, meaningful staff-patient engagement, and data-led feedback to staff to identify and implement improvements.

The project resulted in a gradual, sustained, and significant reduction in the number of seclusions, the length of time in seclusion and a reduction in the number of seclusions an individual may experience.

Additionally, the project has successfully changed ward culture with benefits for consumers and staff in the reduction of trauma.

Finalist - Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District: Space Camp


Transcripts - Space Camp

The aim of the project was to develop a neuroscience evidence-informed early intervention program that supports families and school staff to meet a child’s broad developmental needs based upon their unique diversities to optimize childhood wellbeing.

‘Space Camp’ is a nine-week school based clinical intervention for children aged five to nine years old with behavioural, social or emotional challenges.

Separate child, caregiver and family group components deliver a set of cohesive strategies for implementation across environments (home, school, community and clinical).

User friendly literature is provided for adults and children, with professional development for teachers and meetings for extended family members.

The need for a new group is based upon consumer and stakeholder consultation, including the evidence informed practice-based knowledge of clinicians seeking an integrated therapeutic framework.

The group is based upon the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics supporting all presentations (neurotypical, neurodivergent and trauma) across all age spans, thus providing skills for both caregivers and child within a single framework.

With a clear focus on the award categories ‘improved prevention and early intervention’ this project targets an early age group. The project also contributes to the strategic direction to ‘Integrate Systems to Deliver Truly Connected Care’ across the mental health system.

Finalist - St Vincent's Hospital Sydney: This Way Up


Transcript - This Way Up

This Way Up is a digital mental health service at the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney.

This Way Up provides free and low-cost online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs for the management of depression, anxiety, and psychological wellbeing. The clinical team at This Way Up have also developed and disseminated a range of free COVID-19 Coping Resources consisting of practical tips and strategies to help people manage their psychological stress and wellbeing throughout the pandemic. These resources are also available in the top ten languages spoken in NSW.

This way up’s rapid provision of free programs and resources during COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in users accessing the online courses.

Since its launch, the COVID-19 Coping Resources have been accessed approximately 10,000 times.

Similarly, the Mixed Anxiety and Depression iCBT program (one of our 18 programs) saw more than 600% increase in quarterly registrations compared to 2019 (pre-COVID-19 pandemic) from 2,806 to 21,872 (Mahoney et al., 2021).

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