Mental health paramedic to support SAAS with triple zero calls

An experienced mental health paramedic will work alongside triple zero call takers as part of a new trial aimed at diverting patients away from emergency departments and to more appropriate care.

Two paramedics will share the role, working within the SA Ambulance Service Emergency Operations Centre 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They will provide timely, high-quality mental health assessments over the phone and help identify what kind of care or intervention is necessary.

The six-month pilot is being funded by a $125,000 Hospital Research Foundation donation.

SAAS receives about 50 triple zero (000) calls a day from people experiencing a mental health-related crisis.

This trial, alongside other initiatives such as the Mental Health Co-Response program (MHCore) and the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre, will help divert some patients away from emergency departments and into more suitable care.

The mental health trained paramedic will have access to up-to-date mental health databases to give informed advice around an appropriate course of action on a case-by-case basis.

Referral pathways include:

*Urgent Mental Health Care Centre

*Priority Care Centres/ Hospital Avoidance and Supported Discharge Service

*Sonder (Northern Service)

*Links to Wellbeing Noarlunga GP Plus (Southern Service)


*NALHN SAPol Co-Responder Team (trial)

*Community Mental Health Teams


*All free phone lines eg Lifeline, Beyond Blue

*Drug and Alcohol Services

*StandBy (Anglicare)

The pilot has also been designed to help streamline the emergency response approach by sharing ambulance and mental health databases and networks.


Attributable to Chris Picton

Importantly, this program will help provide the most appropriate care and pathway for those experiencing mental health distress.

We know that the busyness and bright lights of emergency departments is not always the best place for someone needing mental health support.

Referring mental health patients to the right service will not only help them but will also help reduce pressure on our emergency departments and hospitals.

Attributable to SAAS Interim Executive Director Kate Clarke

The pilot aims to improve services for South Australians who experience critical mental health issues.

By responding with the right care right from the initial stages of the patient journey, we will be able to deliver better outcomes for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

This may be support at home, referral to alternative care or hospital treatment.

Attributable to The Hospital Research Foundation Group CEO Paul Flynn

The Hospital Research Foundation Group is proud to support this initiative. It will provide a timely response around treatment options for South Australians experiencing a mental health related crisis.

Providing real-time help to patients who have called triple zero (000) with mental health concerns will support their decision-making and lead to patients receiving the appropriate care in the right environment when having an acute mental health crisis.

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