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6 November 2017

Message from the Chair

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

The GPMHSC has been busy promoting mental health training and accreditation at various general practice conferences, including General Practitioner Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) Brisbane, Rural Medicine Australia 17 and GP17 – The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) conference. If you are at GPCE Melbourne, come and say hello to the GPMHSC team.

Have you seen our video on Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST)? This short video provides information to general practitioners (GPs) interested in providing advanced mental health care to their patients.

FPS Video

Also included in this newsletter is an update on a number of excellent mental health and FPS continuing professional development (CPD) activities available and accredited by the GPMHSC. Check our website for details.

The beginning of the new triennium is an excellent time for training providers to develop new mental health training activities as programs that receive GPMHSC accreditation over the next few months can be rolled out for over two years.

GPMHSC Accredited

The GPMHSC also recognises high-quality mental health (MH) CPD and FPS CPD. More information below. If you are thinking of developing a new mental health activity, please contact the GPMHSC Secretariat with any questions.

Assoc Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Psychological services through telehealth

New Medicare item numbers for psychological telehealth were launched on 1 November providing access to therapies for rural and remote patients. Up to seven of the 10 consultations under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan can be conducted through video conferencing. It is a requirement that one of the first four sessions is delivered face-to-face to facilitate a personal connection with the treating allied health professional. The Department of Health (DoH) has developed guidelines and collated frequently asked questions (FAQs) for key stakeholders.

Find out more through the DoH website.

Mandatory reporting under review

Mandatory reporting of health practitioners is under review by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. Currently, in every state but Western Australia, a healthcare practitioner who treats another healthcare practitioner for mental health or substance use/abuse issues must report their condition to the authorities.

Reporting can lead to a lengthy investigation and harm a healthcare practitioner’s reputation. This situation means that some GPs choose not to seek help for these conditions contributing to a high number of suicides in the profession.

Read the RACGP submission to the review.

Invitation to participate in research

Survey 1

The Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG) at the University of Sydney is currently conducting a study aimed at exploring the barriers and enablers to the implementation of a newly developed shared care model for the treatment of anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

PoCoG is interested in interviewing GPs (either face-to-face or in a phone call for a 30–45 minute semi-structured interview) on the acceptability of the new model.

If you would like to participate, please contact Dr Lisa Vaccaro or Dr Joanne Shaw

For more information about the project, please visit the PoCoG website.

Survey 2

Are you caring for patients with mental health issues in Wyndham, Hobsons Bay or Maribyrnong? Would you like to learn more about how to manage and support these patients?

Emergency Mental Health Services and the Primary Care Liaison Unit at Werribee Hospital are exploring how we can support GPs caring for patients with mental health issues. Together, we support people in one of Melbourne's fastest-growing catchments. To share your views, please complete the five-minute survey by Sunday 10 December.

Results from this survey will help develop our services and referral tools, and contribute to our 2018 GP seminar program. Forward any questions to 

Take the survey.  

New mental health portal

A collaboration with the community, the mental health sector and the DoH has resulted in a new website that links Australians to online and phone mental health services, information and resources.

For more information, visit the Head to Health website.

Recovery support workers for Eastern Melbourne

To help GPs engage with at-risk patients sooner, Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network has introduced AOD@theGP, a gateway service for GPs who have patients with emerging substance use issues.

Rather than duplicating existing alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services, AOD@theGP focuses on early intervention for patients who are not yet seeking treatment. We place an experienced AOD clinician within the clinic to provide on-the-spot assessment, psycho-education, brief interventions, and where necessary, facilitate access to suitable AOD treatment services.

Find out more or register your general practice to access the service. Email Debbie Lindsey via

New website from the RANZCP

‘Your health in mind’ is a website from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). Aimed at patients and their families, the website provides expert information in plain English about mental illnesses, treatments, the role of psychiatrists, and how to get help.

‘Your health in mind’ also assists in explaining the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist – terminologies that confuse many people. The website includes:

  • the RANZCP’s ‘Find a Psychiatrist’ directory of psychiatrists working in private practice in Australia
  • more than 35 easy-to-read fact sheets about mental illnesses, treatments and the health system
  • videos to help explain what it’s like to visit a psychiatrist
  • answers to FAQs
  • links to recommended services and support organisations.

Go to Your health in mind for all the information.

Spotlight on accredited training


Dealing with Adolescent Depression
Saturday 18 November, Randwick
Black Dog Institute

Deadly MHST: Substance Misuse
Saturday 11 November, Toowoomba
Carbal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Limited

GP Mental Health Skills Masterclass
Saturday 9 December, Adelaide
Psych Scene Pty Ltd

Mental Health Disorders Training for Rural Practitioners
Delivered by ACRRM

Mental Health Skills Training with a focus on youth mental health
Delivered online by gplearning


Talking About Suicide in General Practice
Black Dog Institute

Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention
Multiple locations and dates
Black Dog Institute


Accessible Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training
Monday 14 August – Friday 24 November 
Delivered online RACGP Rural

GP Psychological Medicine Training: By GPs for GPs
Australian Society for Psychological Medicine


Managing Depression in Primary Care
Saturday 11 November, Newcastle
The University of Sydney – Discipline of Psychiatry At Westmead Clinical School

Dealing with Anxiety Disorders
Saturday 2 December, Randwick
Black Dog Institute

For training providers

Making changes to an existing GPMHSC accredited activity

If you plan on making changes to your activity once it has been accredited, training providers are advised to contact the GPMHSC Secretariat  on 03 8699 0556 for further discussion if there are any changes or variations to the activities once accreditation has been granted.

New applications for GPMHSC adjudication

Now is an excellent time to develop new mental health training activities as programs that receive GPMHSC accreditation over the next few months can be rolled out for over two years. Training providers who are thinking of developing a new MHST, FPS ST, MH CPD or FPS CPD activity and have questions about the process are advised to contact the GPMHSC Secretariat on 03 8699 0556 or email

Optional GPMHSC accreditation of MH CPD and FPS CPD

In 2017–19, the GPMHSC will be recognising high-quality MH CPD and FPS CPD activities.

Training providers who wish to have GPMHSC accreditation for their MH CPD or FPS CPD activities must have the activity accredited by the RACGP Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) Program or be dually accredited by  the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) Professional Development Program (PDP).

To apply for GPMHSC accreditation, training providers are required to:

  • forward their accreditation application for the RACGP QI&CPD Program or ACRRM PDP to the GPMHSC
  • submit a cover letter requesting GPMHSC accreditation
  • provide a written statement addressing the following criteria:
    • how the activity meets the education criteria
    • stakeholder involvement and consultation
    • consumer and carer participation
    • how the activity and learning objectives meet the content requirements of an MH CPD or FPS CPD.

GPMHSC AccreditedMH CPD and FPS CPD activities will be adjudicated by the GPMHSC as applications arrive.

With a GPMSHC accreditation, CPD activities can include the GPMHSC accreditation ‘tick’ logo (pictured) when advertising. The GPMHSC will also promote accredited CPD activities to interested GPs, Medicare locals and other interested stakeholders through its website and this newsletter.

Medicare reporting requirements

Please be aware that in order for the GPMHSC to report completed Mental Health Education and Training (MHST) to Medicare, a provider number must be included. Please advise the GPs attending your activities to contact the GPMHSC and advise of their Medicare provider number. Without this detail, GPs cannot be reported as eligible to claim the higher Medicare Benefits Schedule item numbers. Contact GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556. 


GPCE Melbourne

Friday to Sunday 10–12 November
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria
More information.

In the media

Death rate for people seeking mental health treatment double the rate of general propulation.

Experts call for more migrant mental health support.

Mental health resources for current and former serving Australian Defence Force members.

World Mental Health Day: Julia Gillard and BeyondBlue's mission to help anxious Australians get well.

Private health insurance reforms reveal broader cover for mental health services.

Study shows link between concussion and mental health.

One in five truck drivers report mental health issues.