Virtual Mental Health Emergency Care

Increasing access to mental health services in communities across rural and remote NSW

Hunter New England Local Health District, Western NSW Local Health District

Published 24 May 2021. Last updated 11 November 2022.

Mental health services in rural and remote NSW are dispersed over vast distances. For mental health consumers, this can mean access to specialised services is limited and the nearest mental health facility can be hundreds of kilometres away. Consumers often present to their nearest Emergency Department (ED), where they may experience extended waiting times and may be transported to another site for assessment unnecessarily. This can make a mental health emergency an even more stressful experience, as well as increasing the resource strain on the health system.

To increase access to specialist clinical mental health services in communities across rural and remote NSW, Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) and Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) provide mental health assessments and care virtually to EDs within their regions.

This document outlines the common elements of successful Mental Health Emergency Care (MHEC) initiatives and details the key features of two local models in the following parts:

  • Part 1 – Mental Health Emergency Care: Core Elements
  • Part 2 – Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) Northern Mental Health Emergency Care – Rural Access Program (NMHEC-RAP)
  • Part 3 – WNSWLHD Mental Health Emergency Care (MHEC)

To form a thorough understanding of each local model and its implementation, it is necessary to consider this document in its entirety. Each local model is supplemented by the core elements section to represent the complete initiative.

Download Virtual Care: Virtual Mental Health Emergency Care - PDF

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Virtual careMental healthWestern NSWHunter New EnglandRural and regional
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