Geelong Mental Health Support Trial Extended

An innovative mental health program piloted in Geelong has been granted an extension, with scope for a permanent rollout and expansion across the state.

The Prehospital Response of Mental Health and Paramedic Team (PROMPT) trial would run for an extra six months after a successful three-month trial, Mental Health Minister Martin Foley announced yesterday.

The Victorian-first program teams specialist mental health staff with paramedics when they are called out to an incident where mental health may be an issue.

Mental health staff arrive in an unmarked car — a calming option compared with police arriving with lights and sirens.

Patients in crisis are assessed and triaged sooner, and fewer need to be taken to busy emergency departments, which can exacerbate a patient’s symptoms.

The program is a partnership between Ambulance Victoria and Barwon Health.

Barwon Health’s Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services clinical director Steve Moylan said some patients were taken to the inpatient unit without having to go through the ED, while others were treated in their homes.

In its first three months, PROMPT diverted around 76 per cent of patients away from hospital to more appropriate mental health services.

Source: Geelong Advertiser, Story published 3 October 2019