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Integration of services behind new plan on mental health

Commonwealth and State services have come together for the first time to co-design and create a clear roadmap for supporting the mental health needs of people living in our region during the next five years.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) this week launched the regional mental health and suicide prevention plan for South Western Sydney at a virtual event.

The plan is the culmination of three years’ work and includes input from more than 200 people from organisations, services, hospital staff, GPs, people with lived experience and carers, Indigenous support services, schools and community services in South Western Sydney.

It will guide local efforts to improve access to mental health support in areas including referral pathways, integration, and collaboration within the mental health sector and relevant community and health services.

SWSPHN chief executive officer, Dr Keith McDonald, welcomed this next important step in addressing our region’s mental health needs, saying up to 166,000 people in our community were impacted by some level of mental illness in any given year.

SWSLHD chief executive Amanda Larkin said the plan’s vision was to provide treatment, care and support for individuals which was personalised and provided by the right service at the right place, at the right time.

Integration is the key: Dr Keith McDonald with Amanda Larkin at the launch of the regional mental health and suicide prevention plan for South Western Sydney.

“Our vision is that services work with those accessing support in a coordinated way to understand them and holistically meet their needs,” Ms Larkin said.

“Mental health and suicide prevention services must be affordable, family-inclusive and free from discrimination and stigma.

“Now it’s time to put this plan into action.”

 Dr McDonald said integration was the concept underpinning the regional plan.

“Integration to remedy the fragmentation that people with mental health issues experience all too often, integration to break down the silos and to ensure services are working together,” he said.

“SWSPHN and SWSLHD are best positioned to align efforts and make this happen.

“By incorporating both primary and tertiary perspectives, and by tapping into all the networks and services both organisations work with on a daily basis, we have been able to build a comprehensive snapshot of the needs of consumers, services and the wider community.”

To read the regional mental health and suicide prevention plan for South Western Sydney, visit

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