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6 August 2018

Message from the Chair

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

With the change in funding around the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the funding needs of other important federal government funded programs, such as Partners in Recovery, and Personal Helpers and Mentors, are not being met. Such programs have provided much needed mental health support and care for individuals who have fallen through the gaps in state and territory systems. This gap in funding will potentially leave a large proportion of mental health consumers with limited access to support services that serve as an integral component to their recovery.

As a result, the demand on primary mental health care will likely increase, adding additional strain on these services. It is important that GPs and mental health providers are aware of the potential challenges that will ultimately affect consumers and carers of mental health. The GPMHSC continues to work with member organisations, including carer and consumer representatives to ensure that the impact of these challenges are minimised.

The GPMHSC is constantly seeking ways to improve on our performance across a broad range of issues critical to GPs in the delivery of primary mental health care services. We invite you to complete a short five-minute survey, aimed at providing us with a better understanding of the challenges you face when dealing with mental health conditions in your practice. Upon completion of the survey, you will have an opportunity to enter into a prize draw (see below).

The GPMHSC Secretariat will be attending various conferences from now until November 2018. We will be attending the myPHN Conference in Mackay on 1–2 September, the GP Training and Education Conference in Adelaide on 12–13 September. We are also the key sponsors for the RACGP’s GP18 on the Gold Coast and Rural Medicine Australia in Darwin, both held in October. We will be holding another session on using Focussed Psychological Strategies at GP18, so come along and join the discussion.

Lastly, we would like to remind you of the extensive range of mental health and Focussed Psychological Strategy (FPS) continuing professional development (CPD) activities available and accredited by the GPMHSC. Visit the GPMHSC website for details.

Assoc Professor Morton Rawlin


For GPs

New eResource available for GPs on telepartnerships in mental health

On 1 November 2017, Medicare Australia released new item numbers for patients in rural and remote locations to claim rebates for video consultations through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) ‘Better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners’ (Better Access) initiative.

This eResource is now available on a single web page and includes information on how GPs can develop telehealth services within their practice.

To view the new eResource on telepartnerships in mental health, visit the GPMHSC website.

GPMHSC online survey

In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, the GPMHSC invites you to participate in a short survey about your experiences dealing with mental health conditions in your practice.  

The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete with the chance to enter a prize draw for a $150 Coles–Myer gift card. There will also be vouchers for second and third places valued at $100 and $50 respectively.

Complete the online survey for your chance to win.

The survey is open until Monday 3 September 2018.


Medicare reporting requirements

If you have recently completed Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) and wish to be reported to Medicare 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.

Contact GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556. 

ICD–11 and mental health conditions: An update

On 18 June 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)–11 to allow member countries enough time to plan the implementation of its adoption in 2019. A significant change in the mental disorders chapter of ICD–11 is the attempt made by statisticians to simplify the codes that will allow for the coding of mental health conditions by primary healthcare providers, rather than by mental health specialists.

To view videos on some of the important updates, including the reclassification of gender incongruence as a sexual health condition, please visit the WHO website.

Invitation to participate in new mental health research

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN), in partnership with the University of Melbourne, is seeking general practices in its region to participate in a new mental health research trial. Patients with complex mental health needs are eligible for the trial and will benefit from eight free sessions with a mental care navigator who will be based at the practice. The navigator will support the patient to identify services that are in line with the goals of their Mental Health Treatment Plan.

To submit an expression of interest and find out more, visit the NWMPHN website.

Are you interested in acquiring advanced mental health skills without having to leave your practice?

RACGP Rural is now taking registrations for the September intake of the Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST). The modular training was developed to address a demonstrated need for GPs to extend their mental health skills in an accessible and flexible manner. The program blends online and peer-group learning in four modules and will take approximately 14 weeks to complete.

To register or to find out more about the course, visit the RACGP website.

Connecting with other mental health professionals

Black Dog Institute’s Mental Health Community of Practice is a private online community for health professionals with an interest in mental health. The community is a place where multidisciplinary connections allow members to engage in robust discussion of practice-related issues with the opportunity to access high-quality information on mental health resources. The community also provides a place where GPs can expand their knowledge and extend their skills while networking with other health professionals.

The Mental Health Community of Practice is a closed, private group. To join, you need to provide your medical registration number.

To find out more and sign up to the Mental Health Community of Practice, visit the Black Dog Institute website.

For training providers

New GPMHSC video now available

The GPMHSC Secretariat is pleased to announce that the GPMHSC introductory video is now available for download.

We hope the video will provide both GPs and training providers a greater understanding of the GPMHSC, including the importance our role has in supporting GPs with delivering high-quality mental health services.

We suggest including the short two-minute video as part of the introduction section of all GPMHSC accredited face-to-face activities.

Watch the video below or download it by visiting the GPMHSC website. Alternatively, if you prefer a copy of the video, contact the GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556.

Meeting dates for the reminder of 2018

The GPMHSC Committee meeting dates for the remainder of the year are now available.

Training providers are encouraged to submit their application by the draft training application due date to give the GPMHSC Secretariat the opportunity to pre-adjudicate the activity and provide feedback. Training providers have until the final training application due date to submit the final application. It is a requirement that all training activities need to obtain accreditation from the RACGP before it is adjudicated by the GPMHSC Committee.

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

Reporting requirements for Medicare

A reminder that a provider number must be included for the GPMHSC to report GP completions of MHST to Medicare. Please advise GPs attending your activities to contact the GPMHSC and advise of 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, contact the GPMHSC via email or call 03 8699 0556.

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 rural and remote GPs indicate that more FPS training courses are required to improve access to psychological services in areas of need.

More information about the requirements for FPS ST courses is available in the resource, Mental health training standards 2017–19: A guide for training providers.


What's coming up?

myPHN Conference 2018

Saturday to Sunday 1–2 September 2018

Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, Mackay QLD

More information

General Practice Training and Education Conference (GPTEC) 2018

Tuesday to Thursday 11–13 September 2018

Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide SA

More information

GP18 – General Practice: The centre of health in Australia

Thursday to Saturday 11–13 October 2018

Gold Coast, QLD

More information


Thursday to Saturday 25–27 October 2018

Darwin, NT

More information

Spotlight on accredited training (until end of October)

Check the GPMHSC website for further details.


Mental Health Skills Training Primary Pathway

Saturday 25 August – Brisbane

Delivered by CheckUP


GPCE – Mental Health Skills Training

Friday to Sunday 14–16 September – Brisbane

Delivered by Reed Medical Education


GP Mental Health Skills Masterclass

Saturday 18 August – Brisbane

Saturday 25 August – Melbourne

Delivered by Psych Scene


MHST with a focus on youth mental health

Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019 by gplearning


Mental health CPD


ASPM GP psychological medicine training – Day 1 ALM

Saturday 11 August – Manly

Delivered by Australian Society for Psychological Medicine


In Her Shoes Annual Conference

Saturday 21 September – Melbourne

Delivered by Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre


Motivational interviewing in general practice – Effective strategies for change

Saturday 20 October – Sydney

Delivered by Australian Society for Psychological Medicine


Online self-care for doctors

Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019 by Black Dog Institute


A pragmatic guide for GPs to suicide prevention

Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019 by Edith Cowan University



FPS in general practice

Friday to Sunday 12–14 October – North Parramatta

Delivered by Health Education and Training Institute (HETI)


FPS training: Interpersonal therapy in practice

Friday to Sunday 19–21 October – Ivanhoe

Delivered by Dr Cate Howell and colleagues



Managing depression in primary care

Saturday 8 September – Camperdown

Delivered by the University of Sydney – Discipline of Psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School


Keeping families and children in mind

Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019 by Emerging Minds.

Mood disorders course online: Psychological approaches

Delivered online until Tuesday 31 December 2019 by the University of Sydney –Discipline of Psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School


In the media

What's news

Mental health workers receive funding for vital services


OPS students focus on social skills and resilient relationships


National Male Health Strategy to support the health of men and boys


$11 million boost for drug and alcohol support services in Brisbane’s north


Youth mental health support service Headspace launches in Mandurah


AMA slams Launceston General Hospital mental health wait


Work design for mental health


Funds are rising, so why aren’t mental health rates falling?