More than 900,000 people in Perth's northern suburbs will potentially benefit from a new partnership between The University of Western Australia and North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) Mental Health.
Professor Sean Hood, Head of UWA's School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, recently signed an agreement with Patrick Marwick, acting Executive Director of NMHS Mental Health, which will see the School contribute to the care of people aged from 18 who suffer from mental health problems.
NMHS Mental Health operates in catchments that include community mental health centres, day therapy and outreach programs and inpatient units at Graylands Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Osborne Park Hospital and Swan District Hospital. NMHS Mental Health also provides the State Forensic Mental Health Service which includes the Frankland Centre on the Graylands Health Campus, the only acute forensic mental health inpatient service in WA.
With specialist youth mental health services, services for adults, older adults and the State Forensic Mental Health Service, NMHS Mental Health helps people who experience problems such as homelessness, limited and poor psychosocial support, cultural barriers and marginalisation and has special programs for mothers with serious mental illness.
"We have a track record of single project and contracted research arrangements, such as NMHS Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP), that have demonstrated the value of collaboration, and this agreement moves this to the next level and provides the structure for developing viable long-term partnerships, for the benefit of patients now and in the future," said Mr Marwick.
The partnership between UWA and NMHS Mental Health will strive for excellence in research, clinical service delivery and education. It will promote advances in medical research, leading to improved patient outcomes and more efficient clinical services.
Research will be driven by health care needs and aims to deliver high quality care, benefitting both the patients and the professionals who train in a collaborative environment.
The engagement of health service providers with a University will translate clinical research into practice, contribute to ongoing professional development and train the next generation of clinical leaders.
Professor Hood said even before the partnership was made official, his School and NMHS Mental Health had been involved in translational research. For example, one of his PhD students, an acute coronary nurse, developed a depression screening test for people who suffered a heart attack.
"Identifying these patients not only provides them with timely access to mental health care, but also enables them to engage in programs to help their physical rehabilitation," Professor Hood said.
"In another ongoing project, researchers are investigating if NAC, an antidote for paracetamol overdose, also works as a rapid-acting anti-depressant in emergency department settings."
Helen Moran (Manager, UWA School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences) (+61 8) 9346 2446
Patrick Marwick (Acting Executive Director NMHS Mental Health) (+61 8) 9242 9618
David Stacey (UWA Media Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716