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14 November 2016

GPMHSC eNewsletter – Spring 2016

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the spring edition of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) eNewsletter.

It has been an action packed few months for the GPMHSC, launching the new standards for the 2017–19 triennium at GP16 and RMA16, holding workshops on the Practice Guide: Communication at conferences for general practitioners (GPs) and psychologists and the release of suicide prevention and postvention resources.

The new Mental Health Training Standards 2017–19 for general practitioners and training providers are now available on the GPMHSC website. The standards have been well received and we look forward to receiving applications for reaccreditation as well as notifications of newly-trained GPs.

Members of the GPMHSC committee introduced the new Practice Guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals at GP16, APS Congress 16 and RMA16. The guide was well received and lively discussions took place.

The GPMHSC promoted its suicide prevention and postvention resources on ‘R U OK? Day’; ‘Men, let’s talk when things get tough’ by Movember, and World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15–44 years and mental illness is one of the key risk factors. The resources are now available on the GPMHSC website.

As we head towards the end of the year, the GPMHSC will continue to promote our new standards and resources with key stakeholders.

We wish you a safe and fulfilling time over the holiday season and hope you feel refreshed for the new year ahead.

A/Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Important reminder – Maintaining your FPS provider eligibility

Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) providers are reminded to schedule a FPS continuing professional development (CPD) activity for completion before 31 December 2016. This is critical to maintaining FPS provider eligibility into the 2017–19 triennium.

There are several programs available including online and face-to-face options. Access accredited FPS CPD courses.

Fifth National Mental Health Plan

The government have recently released the Fifth National Mental Health Plan. Mental Health Australia will be partnering with the Department of Health to run a number of consultation workshops occurring throughout November and early December in all states.

Following the Federal election, Mental Health Australia provided parliamentarians with a brief on the mental health sector to assist them in understanding the current state of mental health reform. GPs may be interested in the overview and recommendations provided as a precursor when considering the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week in October was marked with a number of different campaigns. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) launched a new position statement on mental health care in general practice, reiterating the central role of GPs in mental health care amid the current reform environment.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia called for more support for mental healthcare services in the bush to ensure GPs can sustain and further enhance care.

Mental health and chronic pain

A recent issue of the Australian Psychological Society’s bimonthly bulletin InPsych featured a number of free access articles on chronic pain that may be of interest to GPs:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health

The Menzies School of Health Research recently released its Final Report on Priority Evidence-Practice Gaps in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Care. The report is the product of more than six years of extensive collaboration through the ABCD National Research Partnership.

The report identifies priority gaps in mental health and wellbeing care, barriers and enablers to addressing these gaps, and strategies for improvement.

Mental health prescriptions rising in number but not cost

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released the latest Mental health services–in brief 2016 report showing a rise in mental health prescriptions largely due to the decreased cost of many subsidised medications.

Spotlight on GPMHSC accredited training

Youth Mental Health Clinical Enhancement Module

A recent GPMHSC survey identified youth mental health as a key area that GPs want more training in. Headspace and gplearning have recently developed an online mental health skills training (MHST) (Clinical Enhancement Module) on youth mental health.

The activity provides participants with strategies for overcoming barriers to engaging young people with a mental illness, skills in recognising symptoms of common mental health issues, undertaking mental health assessments of young people and developing GP mental health treatment plan (GPMHTP).

Eating disorders Mental Health (MH) CPD

gplearning has launched a new activity to encourage early detection and intervention of eating disorders in general practice. Through a series of interactive case studies, the activity raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, provides examples of how to sensitively approach the topic with patients, and outlines the role of the GP within the multidisciplinary care team.

Register for the ‘Recognising eating disorders in general practice’ gplearning activity today.

Free app: suicide safety planning

beyondblue has developed an easy-to-use and portable suicide safety planning app for smartphones that provides a convenient way for people to develop their own personalised safety plan.

Making a suicide safety plan involves the person, ideally with the support of a health professional, identifying likely triggers and positive actions, which can be accessed during times of crisis. Suicide safety planning can be a beneficial intervention for anyone experiencing, or who has recently experienced, suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Having a plan helps people at risk to manage their psychological distress and suicidal thoughts, and subsequently reduces their immediate risk of suicidal behaviour.

BeyondNow is free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. Find out more about the app.

For training providers

Applying for course re-accreditation

If you have run a GPMHSC accredited MHST or FPS skills training (ST) course during the 2014–16 triennium and intend to continue into the next triennium, we will be in touch shortly. Reaccreditation requires training providers to respond to the revised learning outcomes for MHST and FPS ST courses based on the new triennium standards (below).

Alternatively contact the GPMHSC and quote your 2014–16 activity number.

New GP mental health training standards – hard copy guides

The GPMHSC has released the new Mental health training standards 2017–19: A guide for training providers. This guide outlines the course content requirements of GP mental health training programs for GPMHSC accreditation during the 2017–19 triennium.

If you would like to receive a hard copy guide in the post, please email

Upcoming GP mental health training activities

Mental Health Skills Training (face-to-face)

19 November 2016

Depression Dilemmas, Black Dog Institute, Randwick
Emergency Mental Health Workshop, Esler Health, Melbourne

26 November 2016

Mental Health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Melbourne

28 November to 3 December 2016

Clinical Course in Hypnosis - CBT - FPS Module 1 to 6, The College of Medical Hypnosis, NSW Institute of Psychiatry Westmead, Sydney NSW

3 December 2016

Dealing with Depression, Black Dog Institute, Vibe Hotel, 42 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Perinatal in Practice, Black Dog Institute, Randwick

Mental Health Skills Training (e-learning)

Beyond babyblues: Detecting and managing perinatal mental health disorders in primary care, Reed Medical Education

Globe Mental Health Skills Training, Reed Medical Education

Mental Health Skills Training – Fundamentals of mental health care and managing depression, Gplearning

Mental Health Skills Training with a focus on youth mental health, gplearning

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training

19 November

Australian Society for Psychological Medicine - Focussed Psychological Strategies: Skills Training, East Fremantle Yacht Club, 6160

28 November to 3 December 2016

Clinical Course in Hypnosis - CBT - FPS Module 1 to 6, The College of Medical Hypnosis, NSW Institute of Psychiatry Westmead, Sydney NSW

FPS CPD activities

19 November 2016

Australian Society of Psychological Medicine, East Fremantle Yacht Club, 6160

Australian Society for Psychological Medicine presents CBT-based FPS Counselling in General Practice (Day 1: Foundation Principles), Australian Society of Psychological Medicine, East Fremantle Yacht Club, 6158

28 November to 3 December 2016

Clinical Course in Hypnosis - CBT - FPS Module 1 to 6, The College of Medical Hypnosis, NSW Institute of Psychiatry Westmead, Sydney NSW

3 December 2016

Psychodynamic principles for general practitioners workshop (part 3): Mind and Body, RACGP Victoria, RACGP House, 100 Wellington Parade, Victoria, East Melbourne, 3002


Family Focus, Emerging Minds

Keeping Families and Children in Mind: COPMI Mental Health Worker Education Resource, Emerging Minds

'Let's Talk About Children' eLearning course, Emerging Minds

Mood Disorders Course Online: Psychological Approaches, University of Sydney - Discipline of Psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School

Anxiety Disorders Course Online: The Treatments, University of Sydney - Discipline of Psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School

Cognitive behavioural therapy skills for general practice, RACGP Rural

There are numerous FPS CPD activities available over the coming months. Access the list of available training opportunities.