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(Southern Health News, September 2019)
A new SALHN initiative is offering more timely and culturally-sensitive psychiatric care to Aboriginal people living with a chronic mental health condition in the south.
A weekly in-reach mental health service has been established at the Aboriginal Family Clinic at Noarlunga Hospital to help bridge the gap in mental health services.
Headed by psychiatrist Dr Matthew Holt and supported by Aboriginal Health Practitioners, Clinic Nurses and the GP referral pathway, the clinic provides direct access to more than 50 Aboriginal clients requiring regular psychiatric review and ongoing care.
‘As doctors, we are acutely aware of the gap in health services between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, and are always trying to look at ways of improving Aboriginal health services,’ Dr Holt said.
‘This initiative came about during discussions between the Noarlunga community mental health team and the Aboriginal Family Clinic on the need for improved shared care arrangements for chronic mental health patients.’
Dr Holt said the new service allowed Aboriginal clients who had been referred by their GP to undergo psychiatric review in the familiar environment of the Aboriginal Health Clinic.