A new NT Health led initiative Mental Health Co-Responder Project will commence next week in the Top End.
An election commitment, the project will see a partnership between NT Health clinicians, St John NT and NT Police to provide a new, collaborative approach to mental health emergencies in the Top End.
Under the trial, a mental health clinician will respond to mental health triple-0 emergencies with a police officer or a paramedic to provide specialised care on a call-out.
The program has seen success in other jurisdictions and will see the onsite management of mental health call-out’s not requiring hospital admission appropriately managed in the community.
The benefits of the Mental Health Co-Response Model will increase care outcomes for people living with mental illness and include:
- Improved patient outcomes;
- Rapid access to mental health intervention and information;
- A decrease in unnecessary emergency department presentations; and
- A reduction in behavioural escalation.
The Darwin Co-Response Team will be operational five days a week in the evenings from late October 2020 and will be co-located at the Casuarina Police Station.
The Team will provide support and interventions for people of all ages and backgrounds in the Darwin and surrounding areas and will be equipped to respond to community call-outs in a marked St John Ambulance van.
As noted by the Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles:
“We know that the rapid, early intervention in a mental health crisis is imperative, it allows for our hard working front line to be able better treat Territorians in the community in their time of need, alleviating some pressure on hospital admissions.
“The Model is something different we’ve not seen before in the NT. It offers mobile, emergency mental health support with the capacity to provide rapid police and clinical services to a person at the time of crisis.
“We are a government who are increasing access to grass-roots mental health supports for those who need it the most. We are doing this via local initiatives and $50 million of infrastructure and operational support from our National Health Reform Agreement.”
As noted by Amanda Rogers, Senior Project Officer Co-Responder Program:
“The Co-Response model is a trauma informed and recovery-orientated approach to mental health emergency situations that helps to provide more appropriate and gentle way of accessing help in time of crisis.”
As noted by Senior Sergeant Troy Stephens:
“NT Police look forward to working in partnership with both St John NT and the Department of Health on the mental health co-responder program.
“It is a positive step forward in minimising harm that can arise as a result of mental health issues.”