Menu Icon Search

$3.4m boost for mental health in South Burnett

May 05, 2022

Adult mental health services in the South Burnett region have received a $3.4 million boost from the Federal Government.

The funding was announced by Member for Maranoa David Littleproud in Kingaroy on Tuesday – and the good news is it does not depend on the outcome of the upcoming Federal Election as it’s already locked into the Budget.

Minister Littleproud announced the “Head to Health” adult mental health satellite service alongside representatives from the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network (PHN), which will administer the funding over the next four years.

“Head to Health satellite services … are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, ‘no wrong door’, entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and supports,” Minister Littleproud said.

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN CEO Lucille Chalmers said the service would be 'co-designed' by the community and existing service providers.

It will work with adults with mild to moderate needs, but referrals could be made for more intensive mental health care or social supports if needed.

The aim is to develop a partnership between primary care providers, working in closely with GPs.

“We know what people are looking for is care that is connected and they need that local system to work effectively,” Ms Chalmers said.

Part of the PHN’s work would be to design the “service model”, but there would be “definitely a bricks and mortar” location, at a site to be determined.

“What people will see is a multi-disciplinary team so it won’t just be psychologists. We will have a service that cuts across the variety of needs that people are looking for,” Ms Chalmers said.

“They can move seamlessly from one allied (health service) to another. All of that will be determined through the design process.”

Minister Littleproud said the PHN would be arranging the co-ordination and collaboration.

“Some of those more acute services may be external here, but you need someone on the ground to be able to help, not just the GP,” he said.

The services would be free and would begin this month.

“These services will provide that much-needed support, as well as creating a safe space for Australians experiencing high levels of distress or who are at heightened risk of suicide,” he said.

Minister Littleproud made the announcement while visiting local primary healthcare provider, Taabinga Family Practice.

Dr Emma Leu-Marshall, from Taabinga, is a member of the local Kingaroy Stakeholder Consultative Committee, a group of health care professionals who have been working alongside the South Burnett Regional Council to co-ordinate a response to healthcare needs.

Ms Chalmers said the funding was important to address some of the significant mental health care challenges in the region, with the South Burnett’s psychological distress and suicide rates well above the Queensland averages.

“The PHN has been working with representatives from Kingaroy Hospital, General Practice, Allied Health and Council to ensure services are co-ordinated and funded to meet the needs of the local community,” Ms Chalmers said.

“This announcement of a local Head to Health Centre will provide a strong foundation for mental health services going forward.”

Pictured: Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud with Kingaroy Hospital Acting Medical Superintendent Julianne Dore and Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN CEO Lucille Chalmers.

This article was originally published by and has been shared with permission.