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31 July 2017

Message from the Chair

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

I am thrilled to announce that the GPMHSC has received funding commitments from the Federal Department of Health for a further three years. This vital funding gives the GPMHSC the ability to maintain quality standards for general practitioners (GPs) and accredit GPs’ mental health training in promotion of the Better Access initiative, and more broadly, to contribute to the development of policy and resources in the general practice and mental health environments.

We are well into the new triennium and the GPMHSC secretariat are continuing work with training providers on reaccreditation of their activities ensuring the continuing high standards of mental health training for GPs.

The GPMHSC has also launched a new video to promote Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST) to GPs. Watch the video below and consider taking the next step to becoming a registered provider of Focussed Psychological Strategies with Medicare.

FPS ST Video

Don’t forget that there are a number of excellent mental health and FPS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities available that are accredited by the GPMHSC. Check our website for details.

Lastly, a reminder to keep a look out for the GPMHSC Secretariat throughout the next few months as they exhibit at the following conferences:

  • General Practitioner Conference and Exhibition (GPCE), Perth, 22–23 July 2017
  • General Practitioner Conference and Exhibition (GPCE), Brisbane, 1–3 September 2017
  • Rural Medicine Australia 17, 19–21 October 2017
  • GP17 – the RACGP conference, 26–28 October 2017

The Secretariat will be on hand to assist GPs, practice staff and training providers with any queries relating to mental health training, accreditation of activities, and the work of the GPMHSC.

Assoc Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Medicare reporting requirements

If you have recently completed Mental Health Skills Training and are wishing to be reported to Medicare to claim the higher Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers, please contact the GPMHSC and advise us of your Medicare provider number. Without this detail, you cannot be reported. Contact GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556. 

Research priorities in suicide prevention – Your input is key

The University of Melbourne and Suicide Prevention Australia are seeking input for a future Australian suicide prevention research agenda. GPs are invited to participate in a short online survey and responses will be treated anonymously. Your input is greatly valued.

Complete the 15-minute survey

The survey is open until 18 August 2017.

Invitation to participate in research

A team at Griffith University are conducting research into stress and help-seeking among mental health professionals.

Mental health professionals are thought to delay or avoid seeking help for work-related stress and burnout – studies are needed to understand this issue. Accordingly, this study will seek to develop a reliable and valid measure of attitudes towards stress and burnout. It will also help to advance an understanding of a mental health professional’s experience of work stress, burnout, and help-seeking.

Participation in the study will involve completing a 20-minute online questionnaire. By participating, you have the chance to enter a prize draw for one major prize of $100 Coles Myer gift card or one of five $20 Coles Myer gift cards.

Complete the online survey.

For more information, please email Melissa Hill or Matthew Delaney

Griffith University, School of Applied Psychology (Ethics Clearance: 2017/398)

Reminder to write a letter of referral to accompany a GPMHTP

When referring patients to an allied health professional for Focussed Psychological Strategies, remember to write a letter to accompany the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan. Advice provided under Note M7.1 of the Medicare Benefit Schedule states that GPs do not need to use a specific form or template; however, the allied health professional must be in receipt of a letter or note of referral that is signed and dated by the referring practitioner at the first consultation with the patient. For more information, contact Medicare’s provider enquiries line on 13 21 50.

Call for mental health peer support group facilitators

Student researcher, David Turnbull from Deakin University in Victoria, is seeking assistance with his Honours thesis regarding the impact that attending a mental health peer support group has on social engagement and connection to the wider community.

David is looking for mental health peer support group facilitators, who themselves have lived with mental illness from which they have recovered, to participate in semi-structured qualitative interviews. The interviews will take about an hour to complete and could take place in a café or a place of convenience.

Those wishing to participate can email David Turnbull Plain Language Statement and Consent Forms will be provided to each participant. The research will be supervised by Russell Shuttleworth.

Mental Health Professionals Network and the ‘GPMHSC practice guide’: Communication

The GPMHSC released the resource Practice guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals last year and continues to promote it across a number of mediums. A reminder that the Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) is an excellent initiative to improve interdisciplinary and collaborative mental health care practices. Find out more at the MHPN website.

NDIS for mental health patients explained

The Mental Health Coordinating Council has launched a new website to assist those trying to navigate the NDIS. The website aims to help patients, carers and health professionals through the application process as well as tips for those already part of the scheme. The website is in pilot stage and any feedback can be sent to  

United Nations report on rights to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

The United Nations have released a special report in an attempt to contribute to the discussion around mental health as a global health priority. The Report on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health focuses on the right of everyone to mental health and some of the core challenges and opportunities, urging that the promotion of mental health be addressed for all ages in all settings.

Spotlight on accredited training

Mental Health Skills Training Primary Pathway
19 August 2017
Checkup, South Brisbane, 4075

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

Accessible Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training
Starting 14 August 2017
Delivered online by RACGP Rural

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

Mental Health Disorders Training for Rural Practitioners
Face to face: 25 August 2017 or
Online 5: Oct 2017
Delivered by ACRRM

For training providers

Medicare reporting requirements for GPs

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 MBS item numbers. Contact GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556. 

Meeting dates for the remainder of 2017

Meeting dates for the GPMHSC Committee for the remainder of the year are now online

Training providers are encouraged to submit their application by the draft training application due date so the GPMHSC Secretariat can pre-adjudicate the activity and provide feedback, if any. Training providers have until the final training application due date to submit the final application, which incorporates feedback provided by the GPMHSC Secretariat.

Training providers are reminded that it is a requirement that the training activity obtains accreditation from RACGP before it is adjudicated by the GPMHSC Committee.

The GPMSHC Secretariat is available to provide assistance to training providers throughout the application process on 03 8699 0554 or via email

Opportunities to develop Clinical Enhancement Modules

The GPMHSC is encouraging training providers to develop activities tailored to specific at-risk populations, such as patients at risk of suicide, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, refugee populations, and rural and remote populations. If you would like further information, contact the GPMHSC secretariat via email or call 03 8699 0556.

Quality assurance program

Each year, the GPMHSC reviews a sample of approved activities to ensure quality benchmarks outlined in the Mental health education standards 2017–19 are being met. As we are now six months into the new triennium and many courses have received accreditation in recent months, the GPMHSC will soon be resuming quality assurance activities.

A representative from the GPMHSC Secretariat will attend selected programs and provide feedback to both the training provider and the GPMHSC Committee. Training providers whose activities have been selected for review will be contacted by the Secretariat to arrange attendance and to explain the quality assurance process in more detail.

More FPS ST 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 guide for training providers for the 2017–19 triennium.


What's coming up

18th International Mental Health Conference
21–23 August 2017
Conference Centre, Sea World Resort Qld
More information

Embracing Change
The Mental Health Services Conference
29 August – 1 September 2017
Sydney Australia
More information

Australian Counselling Association
National Conference
16–17 September 2017
Sydney Australia
More information

7th International Carers Conference 2017
4–6 October 2017
Adelaide Convention Centre
More information

9th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium
Impacts & Outcomes, Putting People First
11–13 October 2017
Commercial Club, Albury, NSW
Abstracts close 7 July 2017

In the media

What's news

Travel insurance providers remove mental health illness exclusions

Laws 'detrimental to doctors' mental health' to be changed

Royal Flying Doctor Service research shows country mental health access a fifth the rate of city