HealthPathways Update (August 2017) - Focus on Mental Health
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HealthPathways Update
Focus on Mental Health

August 2017

What's New

New pathways launched since 24 May 2017 include:
 Child and Youth Health Alcohol and Other Drugs (Mental Health) Investigations ORL Head and Neck
Gynaecology Gastroenterology Pregnancy Acute Services Neurology

Mental Health - A new stepped care approach

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have been funded to commission evidence based, integrated, stepped care psychological intervention services to ensure a range of mental health service types are available within local regions. 

Stepped care is an evidence based system comprising different levels of interventions, from the least to the most intensive, matched to individual needs.  There can be multiple levels within each step which integrate to provide a spectrum of service interventions.  

By using the stepped care approach, a person is matched to the intervention level that most suits their current needs.  This means that they do not necessarily start at the lowest, least intensive level in order to progress to the next step.  Rather, they enter the system and have their service level aligned to their individual requirements.

PHNs are applying the stepped care approach based on jointly agreed guiding principles.  The ACT & SNSW HealthPathways team has updated the Mental Health Referral pages with information regarding the newly commissioned services and is working to reflect the stepped care approach in the layout of the mental health referral pages.


Coming Soon!
The ACT & SNSW HealthPathways team are developing a GP to GP colleague referral pathway to help manage patients in primary care.  Stay tuned for how you can get involved!
The Benefits of Exercise in Mental Health

Exercise benefits our mental health in various ways and studies suggest that exercise could be effective at managing mild depression and/or anxiety.
When we look at some of the common obstacles people face who suffer from mental health issues, such as; feeling bad about oneself, exhaustion and/ or a sense of being overwhelmed, we can see how exercise can assist these people.
As we exercise our body releases endorphins, the 'feel good' hormones, triggering a positive feeling within the body. As well as gaining the benefit of the endorphin release, exercise can be used as a tool to manage stress and bring the sympathetic nervous systems back into check; helping people to better manage the sense of 'being overwhelmed'.
When exercising, we are also burning energy which can help not only establish a better sense of wellbeing, but also help regulate sleep patterns.
Finally we can look at the effects of social interaction.  Many people with mental health issues tend to isolate themselves. Playing in a team sport or participating in a group fitness class can allow them to build a positive social support group and prevent total isolation.

The key to being able to achieve the benefits of exercise is to start small, with appropriate goals customised to the person’s needs and body. The goal of exercise should always be to build our mind and body up through gradual progressions. So whether it is yoga or crossfit, walking, running or bowling there is a form of exercise to suit everyone and their needs.

Patient Resources
ACT & SNSW HealthPathways provides a comprehensive list of e-therapy and self help resources for your patients to access in their own time. And don't forget the Healthy Lifestyle programs to help your patients reap the benefits of physical exercise for their mental health:
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind:

New After Hours Provider Pathway

The ACT &Southern NSW HealthPathways team has gone live with a new
After Hours pathway designed to streamline access to after hours primary care and reduce the burden on hospital emergency departments. The pathway extends beyond general practice to also include pharmacies that offer extended opening hours on weekdays, weekends and public holidays, recognising the vital role that community pharmacies play in the delivery of after hours primary care in the area.

Service providers whose hours vary seasonally are encouraged to update their details regularly both on the NHSD and on HealthPathways via the feedback function.

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