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Victoria to extend trial for mental health support

Thanks to a partnership between Barwon Health and Ambulance Victoria, a Victorian-first program helping Geelong patients get the best mental health care will now be extended.

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley has announced the extension of the Prehospital Response of Mental Health and Paramedic Team (PROMPT) trial following a successful first few months.

The Victorian-first trial is a partnership between the Andrews Labor government, Barwon Health and Ambulance Victoria that teams up specialist mental health staff with paramedics when they are called out to an incident where mental health may be an issue.

As a result, patients in crisis are assessed and triaged sooner, and fewer need to be taken to busy emergency departments, which can also exacerbate a patient’s symptoms.

In its first three months, PROMPT diverted around 76 per cent of patients away from the local hospital to more appropriate mental health services in the community – freeing up a busy emergency department and providing better, more tailored care for patients. Currently, ambulances respond on average 15 times a day to calls involving mental health patients in the Barwon region.

“This trial is giving people in Barwon the right care faster and is reducing the likelihood of mental health presentations escalating unnecessarily or involving an emergency department,” Mr Foley said.

“While we hold the state’s first ever Royal Commission into Victoria Mental Health System, we’re looking at initiative ways to better deliver quality mental health care to Victorians.”

“This program has done exactly what we promised it would do – provided better mental health care for Barwon locals while reducing presentations to the local emergency department – and it’s fantastic to see it extended,” added Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos.

Member for Geelong Christine Couzens said: “I’m delighted to see Barwon Health and Ambulance Victoria have been able to extend this program, which is helping the Geelong community get the mental health treatment and care they deserve.”

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