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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.

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Winner - Mental Health Virtual Clinical Pharmacy Project

Hunter New England Local Health District


Transcript: Mental Health Virtual Clinical Pharmacy Project

This project involved providing clinical pharmacy services virtually for 70 beds in three Mental Health (MH) units without onsite MH clinical pharmacy services. They were in Tamworth, Manning, and Maitland hospitals.

With medicines known to carry a higher incidence of errors and adverse events than any other healthcare intervention, MH pharmacists are faced with many challenges. They are tasked with a multitude of duties to ensure safe and best practices. They include obtaining the best possible patient medication histories; reconciling medications on admission; allergy and adverse drug reaction documentation; regular multi-disciplinary (MDT) ward round virtual attendance; provision of medicines information and prescribing guidance; dosing and administration advice; medication reviews; patient counselling; and discharge medication reconciliation.

The feedback from a staff survey was overwhelmingly positive, with patient medication review, drug information and discharge planning ranked as the most beneficial interventions for improving patient care.

Consequently, this project acknowledged the crucial role of pharmacists in ensuring best practice in medication management to reduce risks of medication misadventure for MH consumers.

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Finalist - NSW Suicide Monitoring System

NSW Ministry of Health


Transcript: NSW Suicide Monitoring System

Making progress towards zero suicides is a NSW Health strategy priority. The Suicide Monitoring System (SuMS) has been established to provide timely and detailed data for improving care and targeting responses.

NSW SuMS is the first Australian suicide monitoring system established within a health setting. NSW Police and Department the of Communities and Justice (DCJ) share early police reports and coronial findings.

NSW Health integrates and links these with national suicide statistics and NSW health service data. The team analyses and reports on trends, at-risk groups, and “hotspots”.

Development is supported by a multi-agency steering group, and an expert reference group including academic and lived experience representatives.

The NSW public, agencies, and services now receive monthly suicide trend reports. Services and partners also receive detailed local reports and confidential briefings to support early detection and local responses. Linked health data is integrated and made accessible by providing detailed reports on health contacts before suicide, supporting improved service quality and safety.

SuMS fills a critical gap in NSW suicide reduction efforts. With modest resources and strong collaboration, SuMS has allowed monitoring of suicide trends during the COVID pandemic and continues to build tools to support local prevention, early intervention, and response.

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Finalist - Youth Suicide Response Framework

Northern Sydney Local Health District


Transcript: Youth Suicide Response Framework

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian children and young people aged 5–17 years and clusters of suicide deaths are more common among young people aged under 25 years than in adults.

Responding to the suicide death of a young person (postvention) requires rapid and considered action to support those bereaved, prevent imitative suicides by individuals who may be at risk, and connect them to intervention services.

Following a cluster of three youth suicide deaths in 2020, CYMHS ook immediate action to concurrently devise and implement the innovative Framework, which draws on international evidence to map a Circle of Vulnerability (CoV) including the bereaved, those affected, and exposed by the death.

The Framework provides a clear, systematic approach to identifying at-risk individuals and action to offer support, including voluntary inpatient admissions or community support. 

It also enables a proactive approach to prevent further suicide deaths in vulnerable, high-risk populations.

Since the Framework’s inception, the CYMHS has identified 71 vulnerable people who were provided with support to reduce the risk of suicide. 

Youth suicide death rates decreased in the district in 2021 and 2022, and the Framework has been enacted within 48 hours of each tragic incident.

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Current as at: Thursday 1 December 2022
Contact page owner: NSW Health