Your browser has 'Cookies' disabled, alert boxes will continue to appear without this feature.


25 November 2015

GPMHSC eNewsletter - Spring 2015

Message from the Chair

The GPMHSC is eagerly awaiting the announcement by Federal Health Minster Sussan Ley, regarding the major mental health reform package due for release before the end of the year. Minister Ley has stated in a National Press Club Address that the mental health system in Australia will soon be overhauled and will refocus on the central needs of the individual. She explained that health reform involves re-building primary care (the foundation of our health system) through a healthier Medicare package and; delivering better mental health services.

The GPMHSC welcomes the focus on primary health care and delivery of mental health services by government. In early November, we sent a submission to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce advocating for changes to the structure of the current mental health MBS item numbers which, if implemented, will go some way in addressing Minister Ley’s key points. We also wrote to both Minister Ley and the Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash, calling for greater support services for GPs providing mental health care to patients, particularly those practicing in rural and remote communities.

In other news, the GPMHSC recently exhibited at the RACGP’s annual conference, GP15 in Melbourne and at ACRRM’s annual conference, RMA15 in Adelaide. Both of these events were great opportunities to connect with GPs from around the country and to promote GP mental health training to students and registrars.

As this is our last e-newsletter for the year, I would like to wish you all a very happy festive season and start to the New Year. We look forward to continuing our work of advocating for well supported mental health services in the primary care sector in 2016. 

A/Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Domestic violence education

Family violence has reached epidemic proportions in Australia and is now the leading preventable cause of injury and death in women under 45.

GPs are often the first point of contact for individuals experiencing mental health issues and in a unique position to identify and address mental distress caused by or related to family violence.

In line with a recent coroner’s recommendation, the GPMHSC strongly encourages GPs to undertake family violence training and to find out about their reporting responsibilities when violence is known or suspected. See below for links to guidelines, education and resources:

Self-care for GPs

The importance of self-care for workers in allied and community mental health sectors is widely recognised, with cultures of supervision, reflective practice and peer support firmly embedded. For GPs who provide mental health and psychological services to patients on a daily basis, self-care is critically important to avoid unnecessary stress and burn out. Some self-care resources include:

Discussing mental health diagnoses with patients - GPs' help needed

If you routinely deliver news of a mental health diagnosis or support people at the time of diagnosis, researchers at the University of Sydney would like you to invite GPs to take part in an online survey. Their research aims to examine health professionals’ perspectives on discussing mental health conditions with patients wiht an emphasis on the facilitators and challenges inherent to these conversations.

For more information, contact Alyssa Milton at or read more and sign up here.

For training providers

Ensuring MHST prepares GPs to respond to mental health issues

Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) primary pathway (formerly Level 1 Mental Health Training) is considered as entry level training in mental health for GPs or GP Registrars with little mental health experience. Its purpose is to provide GPs and GP Registrars with a basic understanding of common mental illnesses and training relating to the development of Mental Health Treatment Plans.

It might be useful to think that MHST to mental health is like CPR is to physical health; providing GPs with basic skills and knowledge regarding depression and anxiety and its treatment. If you are interested in developing more specific or focussed training in mental health, consider the modular pathway of MHST which consists of a core module and a clinical enhancement module. For more information about training pathways, visit the GPMHSC website.

More FPS Skills Training courses needed

If you are a training provider operating out of a regional or rural area, consider developing an FPS ST course. Feedback from GPs indicates that more FPS training courses are needed in or near their geographical area. More information about the minimum requirements for FPS ST courses can be found in the GPMHSC’s hand book for training providers for the 2014-16 triennium.

If you have run an accredited FPS ST course in 2015 and will be running your course again in 2016, ensure you arrange to have training dates updated on the GPMHSC website.

Upcoming GP mental health training activities

Mental Health Skills Training (Face-to-face)

  • Saturday 28 November 2015: Mental Health Skills Training – “Your culturally diverse patient needs you – your approach matters”, 360 Health + Community, Perth WA
  • Saturday 28 November 2015: Dealing with Depression, Black Dog Institute, Adelaide SA.
  • Saturday 23 January 2016: Mental Health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Sydney NSW
  • Saturday 12 March 2016: Mental health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Melbourne VIC

For updated information on GPMHSC-accredited activities, please visit the GPMHSC website.

Mental Health Skills Training (Online)

  • Monday 2 November – Monday 7 December 2015: Mental Health Training for Rural Practitioners, ACRRM – Click here for more information.
  • Flexible delivery: Mental health care in general practice (Core Module), gplearning
  • Flexible delivery: Managing depression in general practice (Clinical Enhancement Module), gplearning
  • Flexible delivery: Mental Health Skills Training – Fundamentals of mental health care and managing depression, gplearning
  • Flexible delivery: Beyond babyblues – Detecting and managing perinatal mental health disorders in primary care, Reed Exhibitions Australia
  • Flexible delivery: GLOBE Mental Health Skills Training, Reed Exhibitions Australia
  • Flexible delivery: Mental Health Skills Training, Barwon Medicare Local

For updated information on GPMHSC-accredited activities, please visit the GPMHSC website.

Combined MHST and FPS ST activities

  • Wednesday 2 December 2015: Clinical Course in Hypnosis – CBT FPS Module 3 (of 6)
  • Comprehensive Assessment and Management, College of Medical Hypnosis, Sydney NSW

For updated information on GPMHSC accredited activities, please visit the GPMHSC website

FPS CPD activities (face-to-face)

  • Saturday 28 November 2015: Psychodynamic principles workshop for general practitioners, RACGP Victoria Faculty, Melbourne VIC
  • Saturday 5 March 2016: Psychodynamic principles workshop for general practitioners, RACGP Victoria Faculty, Melbourne VIC

For updated information on GPMHSC accredited activities, please visit the GPMHSC website