Sebastian is 42 and has experienced episodes of depression off and on since he was in his early twenties. After talking with his GP how he might experience fewer episodes, he agrees with the option of his GP to creating a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan with a view to engaging in psychological therapies. Sebastian after having six face-to-face Better Access sessions with a psychologist, reports his symptoms have improved considerably. Not wanting to continue with any further sessions at that point, Sebastian agrees to a follow-up appointment with his GP in 8 weeks. At that appointment, Sebastian advises his GP that he is struggling with a further episode. The GP uses HealthPathways to provide Sebastian with options. Sebastian decides to ask his GP for a referral to a psychologist recommended by a close friend. Sebastian then makes further significant progress and reports being comfortable with this particular psychologist. The psychologist are working through a series of online therapy programs which are reinforcing the strategies learned and practiced during the face to face sessions.
Nzinga is 38 and came to Australia from Africa after having spent years in a Refugee camp. She is married with three children and works fulltime as a nurse’s aide. She is also studying to become a nurse. During the last exam period, Nzinga felt very stressed and found her thoughts reliving the days when here family fled their village. She says she is becoming increasingly anxious and is finding it hard to concentrate. Her sleep is interrupted by intense dreams. A GP from the medical service at Companion House links her with a counsellor who provides immediate support. The GP also refers to CatholicCare’s High Intensity Next Step Service. This service builds on the low intensity model to provide more intensive psychological interventions to people with moderate to severe presentations. Interventions are delivered by trained mental health professionals. Interventions are provided across a 6 to 18 session basis dependent on a person’s unique needs. The higher number of possible sessions suits Nzinga’s situation as it enables her to begin to work through some of the trauma she experienced.
Suzanne is 54 and a proud Aboriginal woman. There have been numerous deaths in her family and community in recent times. Suzanne has also been supporting two adult children with schizophrenia. She also cares for her six grandchildren who live with her. She is feeling very tired. She is grieving and doesn’t know if she can make it through any more deaths. Getting through a day is becoming harder and harder. Suzanne thinks she might have depression. She makes an appointment with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. The GP undertakes a full health assessment and prepares a mental health plan with Suzanne and organises for her to have sessions with a Psychologist. She is linked with supports and programs to help with her grandchildren and to give her time for herself. Suzanne is being supported to talk with her daughter and son about applying for the NDIS. She has begun going to the Winnunga Wellbeing group, where participants have a meal together and can talk about their own experiences in a culturally safe environment, where there are no judgements, with appropriate supports in place for individuals. The psychological sessions combined with the support she is receiving, is beginning to make a difference. Suzanne no longer feels isolated and ashamed and is beginning to not blame herself.