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8 May 2018

Message from the Chair

Hello from the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) and welcome to the autumn edition of the GPMHSC e-newsletter.

Earlier this year, the GPMHSC developed strategies to recognise the dedicated work of registered GP providers of Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS). The ‘FPS provider recognition campaign’ acknowledges the skills and contribution of FPS providers and thanks them for providing evidence-based psychological therapies to patients experiencing mental health illnesses. A specially designed decal sticker and patient resource on FPS are currently being developed and will be distributed to FPS providers in the coming months.

 The GPMHSC has been working with FPS providers to ensure they retain their provider status for the current triennium. I am pleased to report that there has been good response with many GPs renewing their FPS compliance. Completion of accredited FPS skills training enables GPs to deliver a range of psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and counselling. If you have completed Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) and are interested in upskilling as a GP provider of FPS, you can read more about completing an accredited course.

In early April, I attended the first forum for the Primary Health Network (PHN) mental health evaluation framework in Melbourne. The forum provided mental health professionals the opportunity to discuss relevant and emerging issues – the final report will be submitted to the Minister of Health at the end of June this year.

As we head towards a busy time of the year, we would like to remind you of the extensive range of mental health and FPS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities available and accredited by the GPMHSC. Visit our website for details.

Assoc Professor Morton Rawlin


For GPs

Free webinar on effective communication strategies in mental health

We are pleased to announce an overwhelming response to the Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) webinar on Wednesday 21 March 2018 with many GPs and allied mental health providers in attendance. The webinar ‘Tips and strategies to enhance communication between medical and mental health professionals’ was based on the GPMHSC’s Practice guide: Communication between medical and health professionals.

You can view the webinar on the MHPN website.

18 GP encounters were mental health related in 2015-16, new reports finds

According to the Mental health services in Australia report, approximately 12.4% of all GP encounters in 2015–16 were mental health related.

The report also found that psychologists provided 4.7 million subsidised-specific mental health items under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), more than any other healthcare profession. GPs provided 3.2 million subsidised mental health items in 2015–16 under the MBS. 

Find out more through the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.

Free short-term psychological support resources available

South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) is now giving GPs the opportunity to access free accessible mental health services for their patients. This project is a collaboration between local healthcare providers in PHN local government areas.

GPs can fax referrals and GP mental health treatment plans to 03 9793 9052 or call 1800 862 363 for priority assistance.

To find out more about accessible psychological interventions, visit the SEMPHN website.

beyondblue welcomes National Education Initiative funding extension

The Commonwealth Government has announced an additional two years of funding for the beyondblue National Education Initiative to 30 June 2021. The initiative, now in its fourth year, supports the mental health of Australian children and young people from the day they enter the education system to the end of Year 12.

beyondblue Chair, Julia Gillard, has welcomed the extension and has praised the government’s efforts in committing almost $100 million over four years to the initiative.

For more information, please visit the beyondblue website.

Medicare reporting requirements for GPs

If you have recently completed MHST and wish to be reported to Medicare for the ability to claim the higher MBS item numbers, please contact the GPMHSC and advise us of your Medicare provider number. We are unable to report you without this information.

To contact us, email GPMHSC or call 03 8699 0556.

For training providers

Opportunities to develop clinical enhancement modules

The GPMHSC encourages training providers to develop activities tailored to specific at-risk populations, such as:

Access the Mental health training standards 2017–19: A guide for training providers for detailed information on the requirements for developing clinical enhancement modules. 

New GPMHSC video coming soon

The GPMHSC Secretariat is developing a two-minute introductory video describing the key organisations comprising the GPMHSC and our objectives.

We anticipate sharing the video with accredited training providers. We suggest that this video be included as part of the introduction section during face-to-face activities. This is to help educate GPs and training providers about the GPMHSC and provide information on the Better Access initiative and Medicare reporting process.

Medicare reporting requirements for training providers

A reminder

Provider numbers must be provided to the GPMHSC to report GP completions of MHST to Medicare. Please advise GPs attending your activities to contact the GPMHSC and provide their Medicare provider number. GPs cannot be reported to Medicare without this information and will be ineligible to claim the higher MBS item numbers.

For more information on the reporting process, email GPMHSC or call 03 8699 0556.

Quality assurance program – An update

Representatives from the GPMHSC Secretariat have conducted several quality assurance reviews during February and March 2018. We anticipate conducting more reviews in the coming months.

Quality assurance reviews are an integral component in ensuring that accredited GPMHSC activities are aligned with quality benchmarks as outlined in the Mental health training standards 2017–19: A guide for training providers.

Activities selected for review will be contacted by the Secretariat who will arrange for attendance and explain the quality assurance process in detail. Training providers will receive feedback from the Secretariat and GPMHSC Committee.


What's coming up

General Practice Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) Sydney 2018
Friday to Sunday 18–20 May 2018
Sydney Showground, Sydney NSW
More information

GPCE Perth 2018
Saturday and Sunday 28–29 July 2018
Crown Convention Centre, Perth WA
More information

Current and emerging treatments for drug addictions
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Tuesday 7 August 2018
30 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC
More information

GP18 – General practice: The centre of health in Australia
Thursday to Saturday 11–13 October 2018
Gold Coast, QLD
More information

Rural Medicine Australia – RMA18
Thursday to Saturday 25–27 October 2018
Darwin, NT
More information

Spotlight on accredited training (until end of July)

Check the GPMHSC website for further details.


Depression dilemmas
Saturday 12 May – Esperance
Saturday 30 June – Perth
Delivered by Black Dog Institute

Friday to Sunday 18–20 May – Sydney
Delivered by Reed Medical Education

Dealing with adolescent depression
Saturday 26 May – Randwick
Delivered by Black Dog Institute

GP Mental health skills masterclass
Saturday 26 May – Perth
Saturday 2 June – Sydney
Delivered by Psych Scene

Clinical course in hypnosis: Modules 1–6
Monday to Saturday 18–23 June – Melbourne
Monday to Saturday 23–28 July – Bardon
Delivered by the College of Medical Hypnosis

MHST with a focus on youth mental health
Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019
Via gplearning


Mental health CPD

Hollywood: Better Days – An ALM in mental health
Saturday 19 May – Crawley
Delivered by Ramsay Health Care

Motivational interviewing in general practice – Effective strategies for change
Saturday 30 June – Sydney
Delivered by Australian Society for Psychological Medicine (ASPM)

Managing anxiety disorders in primary care
Saturday 7 July – Sydney
Delivered by the University of Sydney – Discipline of Psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School

Using eMental health to manage complexity: Anxiety and bipolar disorder
Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019
By Black Dog Institute



ASPM GP psychological medicine training: By GPs for GPs
Saturday to Sunday 19–20 May – Glebe
Saturday to Sunday 9–10 June – Subiaco
Delivered by Australian Society for Psychological Medicine

Clinical course in hypnosis: Modules 1–6
Monday to Saturday 18–23 June – Melbourne
Monday to Saturday 23–28 July – Bardon
Delivered by the College of Medical Hypnosis

FPS training: Interpersonal therapy in practice
Friday to Sunday 22–24 June – Adelaide
Delivered by Dr Cate Howell and colleagues



Managing bipolar disorder
Saturday 2 June – Randwick
Saturday 9 June – Ballarat
Delivered by Black Dog Institute

Cognitive behavioural therapy skills for general practice
Delivered online until Tuesday 24 December 2019
By RACGP Rural

In the media

What's news

New mobile service supports mental health of young people


IML and beyondblue battle workplace mental health


Melbourne injecting room to allow ice


More funding for Men’s Shed across Australia


Mental health is everyone’s issue


Wagga mental health program is live-in, free and voluntary


Mental health support for young people in Katherine


Australians urged to reach out and burst bubble of bipolar