Those suffering from mental illness experience high levels of coexisting physical illness, poorer health outcomes, social disadvantage and high levels of co-morbid alcohol and drug use. The complexity of these issues contributes to mental health consumers representing to emergency departments more frequently and spending longer in the emergency departments than other patient cohorts.
Evidence shows that prolonged time spent in the emergency department can be detrimental to a patient’s mental state and increase the risk of adverse events for those presenting with mental health problems. In turn, discharge from inpatient care for mental health consumers can be a time of increased risk and is often complicated by a lack of community support and the availability of suitable discharge options.
As Whole of Health Program (WOHP) evolves to focus more on inpatient flows and out of hospital demand solutions, the dedicated Mental Health Project Lead will provide strategic assistance to Local Health Districts, Specialty Health Networks and other key stakeholders to improve access to care for mental health consumers across the whole patient journey.