Qualified mental health nurses should be part of Tasmania’s new Emergency Mental Health Co-response model

Monday 30 August 2021


The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) was delighted to hear that the Tasmanian government will be spending over $100 million on mental health services, but would like to see qualified mental health nurses play a key role in the state’s ongoing and future mental health responses.


“COVID-19 has driven home the importance of mental health and we welcome the Tasmanian government’s large spend on mental health services,” ACMHN President Mike Hazelton.


Tasmania is investing $108 million in expanding current infrastructure and services, and supporting new programs in response to COVID-19. This includes mental health precincts at two hospitals, supporting non-government organisations to provide mental health services, and the new Emergency Mental Health Co-response model.


The Emergency Mental Health Co-response model is a new initiative that will see mental health workers travelling with police and ambulance officers to attend mental health-specific “triple-0” calls.


“We urge the Tasmanian government to ensure that Credentialed Mental Health Nurses be part of these multidisciplinary teams offering mental health support to Tasmanians,” ACMHN Vice-President Professor John Hurley said.


“Mental health nurses (MHNs) have an extensive range of holistic skills including counselling and psychotherapy, medication administration and monitoring, and physical health assessment. With these skills, MHNs can support the expansion of mental health services now, rather than waiting for staff to be trained.”


“Qualified MHNs are willing and able to help, and have the experience, knowledge, and skills to meaningfully contribute in all of these areas,” Professor Hazelton added.


Other areas have also received large amounts of funding, with the Tasmanian government setting aside $50 million to fully fund phase one and two of the government's response to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service review report and continue the broader rollout of the Tasmanian Mental Health Reform Program.


“Reforms need to be informed by those with experience and knowledge, such as MHNs, to ensure better outcomes for Tasmania’s children and teenagers,” Professor Hazelton said.


For further comment, please contact ACMHN President, Dr Mike Hazelton on 0448 121 012 or at president@acmhn.org


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