System Integration

EMPHN’s work continually involves new initiatives for improving the service system in our region, with a particular focus on system integration across mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention services.

New initiatives may emerge from community consultations with consumers and carers, government funding and policy directives, recommendations from service providers and practitioners, and research identifying health needs in the community, to name a few.

Current EMPHN system integration initiatives include:

SupportConnect website

EMPHN’s SupportConnect Team of mental health clinicians are at the forefront of EMPHN’s system integration work, as they assist health professionals, consumers and carers, and other community members to navigate and access appropriate services throughout the region. Their work is now complemented by the recently launched SupportConnect website, which helps people to easily find and link with the services they need. See the website.

Service design model – Alcohol and Other Drugs

A new service response for Alcohol and Other Drugs will be developed to ensure that the AOD services EMPHN commissions are not only consistent with best practice but are effectively integrated with other parts of the service system (e.g., State-funded AOD services) throughout the EMPHN region.

In particular, the new service response must reflect recommendations in the recent final reports of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, relative to the future design of mental health, AOD, and suicide prevention services. Service redesign will also consider the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand for services and the need for business continuity to support consumers. See resources section

Implementation of the Regional Plan

The Regional Integrated Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Suicide Prevention Plan for eastern and north eastern Melbourne contains 10 agreed areas of focus and more than 90 actions to ensure that services in our region work together to better meet the health needs of the community. Implementing the regional plan will involve collaboration between a range of regional stakeholders, including consumers and carers, primary and acute (hospital) areas of the service system, community health, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Each focus area of the plan is to be implemented in a way that empowers consumers and carers to drive change. See the Regional Plan here.

Better Together – Lived Experience Strategy

Consumers and carers—people with a lived experience of mental health and AOD issues--are in a unique position to identify and lead the changes the system needs to make to better serve individuals, families, and communities. EMPHN’s ‘Better Together’ project is involving people with lived experience to influence service design and delivery. A lived experience strategy has been developed as part of the implementation of the Regional Integrated Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Suicide Prevention Plan. See resources here.

Child and Youth Mental Health Services

A protocol for youth suicide postvention (intervention conducted after a suicide) has been implemented for the eastern part of our region and is being developed for child and youth services in the north eastern part of our region. Increased coordination of suicide postvention responses is an identified goal in the regional plan, together with mental health services for children.

Mental Health & AOD Service Atlas and Health Pathways

Promoting the use of Health Pathways and the Mental Health & AOD Service Atlas is underway to GPs and other health professionals to create awareness of these resources and linkages to clinical, evidence-based practice. See resource

Evaluation projects

Monitoring and evaluation of existing and new programs is essential to ensure that they meet quality and safety standards, they are effective, and that service delivery improvements can be made where needed. Professional program evaluations, all involving consumer and carer participation, are underway in Stepped Care, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Youth Enhanced Services, and Aboriginal Health, Social and Emotional Wellbeing.

Workforce development/Capacity building initiatives

  • Psychiatric Advice and Consultation Service: The Melbourne Clinic provides specialist psychiatric consultation and advice to general practitioners and EMPHN commissioned mental health and AOD service providers, building their capacity and confidence in working with consumers presenting with mental health conditions. Phone 0447 136 726. Email: See resource. See Support For Health Practitioners.
  • E-learning modules: EMPHN has identified that training for GPs and other mental health and AOD professionals (psychologists, peer workers, social workers, psychiatrists, nurses, etc.) is required for stepped care services to be accessed efficiently and appropriate referrals made. E-learning modules for health practitioners are being developed around key topics in the stepped care model, together with accompanying case studies.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health services: In line with our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination, EMPHN has commissioned the following capacity building initiatives:
    • Aboriginal Suicide Prevention, delivered by Wesley Community Services, provides two, four-day train the trainer courses to Aboriginal workers, as well as 20 suicide prevention workshops across Victoria.
    • Aboriginal mental health first aid training, delivered by Girraway Ganyi Consultancy, provides Aboriginal mental health first aid and cultural awareness training for health providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and families.