Home' Southern Health News : October 2014 Contents 1.
On the road with the
Inner South Community
Mental Health team
BY SARAH KOLAR
Southern Health News journalist Sarah Kolar joined the Inner South Community Mental Health
team for a day in the lead up to Mental Health Week 2014.
When I arrive at GP Plus Health
Care Centre Marion, one Monday
morning in September, to follow
around staff from the Inner South
Community Mental Health team, I
am unsure how the day will unfold.
The 80-plus member team -- which
is made up of two smaller teams
known as Carramar and Marion --
covers the inner southern area of
Adelaide including Mitcham, Unley,
Holdfast Bay and Marion councils
and parts of the Adelaide Hills.
The team provides a range of
services, including acute support,
assertive care, medium term clinical
support, psychological therapies and
a rapid response service between the
hours of 8am and 10.30pm, seven
days a week.
The first order of business, as I enter
the office at 8.30am, is the morning
meeting, where staff are updated on
clients seen over the weekend.
There are about 20 people sitting
around the table -- doctors, nurses,
occupational therapists and social
workers -- with a list of names up on
a projector screen of patients who
have sought their care in a time of
After an initial debrief, many of
the staff head off to start their day,
leaving a small team to discuss the
clinical details with the doctors.
Among the cases is a 38-year-old
professional woman and mother,
with acute stage anxiety, whose
husband called Mental Health Triage
desperately seeking help for his wife.
Then there's the 42-year-old man,
who has schizophrenia and an
intellectual disability, who was taken
to hospital after he stopped taking
his medication and began drinking
A 54-year-old homeless woman,
who has bi-polar, who required an
admission to the Flinders Medical
Centre Emergency Department (ED)
after becoming severely unwell.
And the 60-year-old man, who has
chronic dysthymia -- a neurotic form
of depression -- which has seen him
hospitalised numerous times after
having suicidal thoughts.
These are just some of the stories of
the 700-plus people who seek care
and support through the Inner South
Community Mental Health team
each and every month.
A large whiteboard is unfolded at
the end of the meeting and the
names of patients are moved across
the board according to the stage of
their care. Some, who have been
admitted to ED, will be admitted
to a mental health inpatient bed at
Flinders Medical Centre, Noarlunga
Hospital or the Repatriation
General Hospital for more intensive
Others will be discharged and go
home, or on to a community setting
such as the Southern Intermediate
Care Centre at Noarlunga.
After the meeting, I am shown
around the clinic space on the
ground floor of the GP Plus building
at Marion. The clinic houses a
number of consulting rooms, rooms
for family and group therapy and
designated spaces for medication
-- including a depot clinic -- where
patients who require intramuscular
medication attend on a regular
After the tour of the clinic, I jump in
the car with Social Worker Simon
Angok, and head out to the Ocean
Grove Supported Residential Facility
(SRF) in Brighton. Ocean Grove is
one of approximately 10 SRFs in
the inner south area, where people
with a chronic and debilitating
mental illness spend time to regain
their independence and build up
connections with the community.
Simon often visits his clients at the
SRF to see how they are going, check
their medication compliance and
discuss any issues they may have.
Next I head over to the State Aquatic
Centre where staff are holding a
weekly exercise group for consumers.
The group, which is attended by
about 10 consumers, is a joint
collaboration with the YMCA, who
provide funding for the consumers to
attend via the Open Doors Program.
Participants start by attending the
group, and if they wish to do so,
can move on to attending the gym
independently with a supplemented
In the afternoon, Carramar Team
Manager Allison Liddell tells
me about the role staff play in
responding to a crisis call.
"A call will first go through the SA
Health Mental Health Triage Service,
which operates 24 hours a day,
seven days a week," Allison says.
"The Mental Health Triage Service
is the first point of call for mental
health consumers and their families
in an emergency or crisis situation.
"The service is staffed by mental
health clinicians who can assess
the situation and refer to our Rapid
Response team where appropriate."
Two team members are rostered on
to the Rapid Response team each
Mental Health FEATURE
6 / OCTOBER 2014 / SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS
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