In November 2017, Mentis Assist received funding, following an open tender process, from the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) to deliver the Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) service throughout the Mornington Peninsula.
This was quickly followed by additional funding received in December 2017 to provide the Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) service across Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Casey and Cardinia areas. The API and MHICC services are part of the Stepped Care Model which allows participants to ‘step up’ or ‘step down’ their mental health care as their needs change.
API and MHICC services are provided by experienced psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers and a network of allied health professionals.
API offers short term psychological intervention support for eligible people with mild to moderate mental health needs, while MHICC services are for eligible people with severe and complex mental health needs who are likely to require ongoing mental health support. API & MHICC services are available for people who are not able to afford or access similar services.
The Accessible Psychological Interventions service has already received 323 referrals from across the Mornington Peninsula and the Mental Health Integrated Complex Care service has received 193 referrals throughout the Frankston, Mornington Peninsula and Casey Cardinia areas. That’s 516 referrals received to date, in just 7 months.
The success of the service is evident in some of the positive outcomes already achieved by participants.
Melissa, one of Mentis Assist’s first API clients, shares her story below.
Melissa* has always found it hard to connect with her family due to a number of differences, making her question her self-value and self-belief. Feeling like she had nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Melissa felt her only option was to end own her life. Getting to this low point, Melissa realised she needed outside help.
In despair, and not sure what else to do, Melissa visited her GP in search of ways to cope with the anxiety, frustration and guilt caused by her fractured family relationships.
Melissa’s GP and Peninsula Health worked collaboratively to refer her to the newly established Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) service provided by Mentis Assist.
Mentis Assist’s Psychologist, contacted Melissa directly, to arrange her first appointment.
Melissa says her experience with the API service has been fantastic and she instantly felt comfortable talking to Mentis Assist’s Psychologist.
“My psychologist has been very supportive and very in touch with what I was going through. She pointed out a lot of things; why they were happening and offered solutions, allowing me to talk without judgement” She said.
Melissa has now been receiving a service from Mentis Assist for six months. Starting with weekly appointments, once she started to find solutions and other ways to cope with her family situation, her appointments were reduced to fortnightly and now monthly. Melissa will eventually ‘step down’ into lower intensity services such as phone support.
“I think I have changed my way of thinking in relation to family members which has allowed me to be more forgiving (an example being my Father whom I have a new patience with as I now understand that he has issues of his own too). This has given me a new perspective – a new peace I guess you could say.” Melissa said.
Melissa now feels she has her life back, has returned to work with a new positive attitude and is working on her own self-value.
“There’s more to be done, but generally I feel happier and deal with things a little differently” she said.
*Not her real name