Primary health care in the mental health workplace: insights from the Australian experience
Cleary, M and Dean, S and Webster, S and Walter, S and Escott, P and Lopez, V, Primary health care in the mental health workplace: insights from the Australian experience, Issues in mental health nursing, 35, (6) pp. 437-43. ISSN 0161-2840 (2014) [Refereed Article]
In Australia, Primary Health Care and the mental health sector have always shared a philosophy. In 1978, Primary Health Care was first put forward as a strategy to improve "health for all." Recently, the Australian Government included mental health as a national health priority, identifying six strategies consistent with a Primary Health Care approach to address the mental health of all Australians. Throughout this time, Primary Health Care has been highlighted in all models of care. However, in reality, it appears that in mental health services, mental health nurses, despite good intentions, are not delivering care in a planned or systematised way and that much needs to be done to further improve the situation for individuals accessing the health care system. Services currently focus on those identified as seriously mentally unwell; in order to really make an impact it is argued that services should be broader, offered to the population at large and, further, that the emphasis on case work at an individual level should be changed to an approach that considers prevention, maintenance, and follow-up as well as crisis intervention. This article reflects the Australian experience and offers some insights from that experience.