MENTAL HEALTH NEWS
Managing Mood Disorders: At the Cutting Edge
The Northside Group hosted ‘Managing Mood Disorders: At the Cutting Edge’ on Saturday 19 October 2019.
This full-day conference, featuring a stellar line up of professorial mood disorders researchers, was held at the
Park Hyatt Sydney and was attended by over 140 psychiatrists.
Keynote speaker, Professor Mark Frye from
the Mayo Clinic, opened proceedings with an
engaging paper on Biomarkers as a Roadmap
for Greater Precision in the Diagnosis
and Individualised Treatment of Mood
Disorders. This was followed by a variety of
presentations on the latest research in the
treatment of mood disorders by:
• Professor Philip Mitchell, Director Mood
Disorders Service & Medical Superintendent,
Northside Group St Leonards Clinic, and
Scientia Professor of Psychiatry UNSW
• Professor Colleen Loo, Director
Neurostimulation Service, Northside Group,
and Professor of Psychiatry UNSW
• Professor Ian Hickie, Co-Director of Health
& Policy, University of Sydney Brain &
• Professor Gin Malhi, Faculty of Medicine
Chair, University of Sydney, and Head of the Academic
Department of Psychiatry & Director of the CADE Clinic at
Royal North Shore Hospital
• Professor Gordon Parker, Scientia Professor UNSW, Founder of
Black Dog Institute
• Professor Malcolm Hopwood, Ramsay Health Care Professor
of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, based at Albert
14 The Ramsay Way 2019 | 04
Northside Group CEO, Anne Mortimer, said: “The conference
was a wonderful meeting of minds and an opportunity to
showcase Ramsay Health Care and the Northside Group to
the 68 attendees not currently connected with our facilities.
The collegial and welcoming atmosphere made for a high
energy day of learning and collaboration.”
Setting the standard
for mental health
With almost one in two Australians suffering from
a mental health disorder at some point in their
lives, the need for comprehensive and effective
treatment options is growing.
Ramsay Health Care is taking a contemporary approach to
mental health care, treatments and services by developing
a comprehensive suite of standardised treatment programs
that draw on best practice and which can be consistently
delivered across its 23 Australian mental health facilities.
MyRecovery and MyStaywell are patient-centred
psychology programs and interventions that have been
developed using the latest international research, current
best practice and industry guidelines to effectively meet the
needs of Ramsay patients.
The two programs have now been rolled out after extensive
assessment and development, including internal and external
review by leading Australian and international experts and a
pilot phase where patients and clinicians provided feedback.
The MyStaywell program is a discharge planning tool, made
available to patients while in care and after discharge, and is
provided as both a workbook and a mobile app.
The app allows patients to access their individualised support
materials when needed and can be particularly helpful when
a patient is experiencing a crisis event, such as a panic attack.
Patients can even use the app to contact their support person/
network quickly and easily should they require assistance.
National Mental Health Program Director, Dominique Robert-
Hendren, has been leading the development of the new
programs and is delighted they have been met with great
enthusiasm by both patients and staff.
“It has been great to receive some really positive feedback
from both clinicians and patients about the programs and
the accompanying patient and facilitator manuals and
workbooks; and that these resources, in conjunction with the
app, have been a valuable tool for our patients during their
recovery,” Ms Robert-Hendren said.
In the coming months the current MyRecovery and
MyStaywell programs will be supplemented with further
content that will build on the program for both day patients
and in-patients, and cover other common mental health
disorders within the community, including:
– Eating disorders
– Drug and alcohol use and
– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Taking a standardised approach to mental health programs
delivers great benefits for Ramsay’s patients and clinicians.
It enables regular review of the program content to align
with latest research and best practice and allows for better
measurement of patient outcomes to ensure we are providing
the most beneficial treatment possible.
“With the recent release of the Productivity Commission's
draft mental health report, which emphasises the efficacy
and need for more specialised psychological interventions
for people with moderate, high and complex intensity mental
health care, it is great to know Ramsay is providing the
innovative and evidence-informed services this critical area
of health requires,” Ms Robert-Hendren said.
The Big Anxiety Festival
The Northside Group was
very proud to collaborate
with The Big Anxiety
Festival in the production
of the short film Beneath
the Stigma and to host
the launch of the film
at Northside Group
St Leonards Clinic on
Friday 25 October.
The film launch saw
90 members of the
local community enjoy
refreshments, live music,
a viewing of the film, and
a Q&A session with the
film maker and with Dr
Mark Cross, Northside Group psychiatrist, who is
featured in the film. The film explores some of the complex
yet familiar issues of living with mental illness, with personal
stories of everyday Australians.
Northside Group CEO Anne Mortimer said: “It was a
pleasure to invite our local community to this special event
and to further enhance the Northside Group’s role in
reducing the stigma of mental illness. The audience enjoyed
this artistic and very real snap shot of living with anxiety,
and the lively discussion which took place.”
The Northside Group also held an additional screening
as part of a community information session at Northside
Group Macarthur Clinic on Thursday 31 October with
Surviving to thriving:
Mt Wilga takes on
stress and anxiety in
Staff at Mt Wilga Private Rehabilitation Hospital have
been taught vital skills in stress and mental health
management as part of R U OK? Day – a national
day of action reminding everyone to support people
struggling with life’s ups and downs.
The hospital hosted a seminar for all staff called “From
Surviving to Thriving”, which focused on recognising stress
and exploring different ways to manage it.
Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Samantha
Grant said: “A lot of people know the basic components of
promoting good mental health, but we all need reminders
and reinforcement to talk about our feelings sometimes.”
The seminar was presented by psychologist, Morag
Paterson, who has more than 15 years’ experience working
with individuals and groups. She helped the group develop
practices to use stress as an opportunity. Some of the
techniques included keeping active, making time for
important relationships, being proactive in tackling problems
and practising gratitude.
“It is not the stress that harms us; it is our reaction to it. Stress
can be used as a threat or a chance to grow, so it was a great
takeaway for our staff to have,” Mrs Grant said.
Around 50 nursing, therapy and non-clinical staff from the
112-bed facility attended the lunchtime session.
During the session, staff were also challenged to develop an
action plan for the future, to help build resilience at work and
maintain good mental health and well-being.
“We know that mental health challenges are prevalent in
society as a whole and we want to have a culture where staff
have the skills to manage stress and support each other,”
Mrs Grant said.
L–R: Professor Ian Hickie, Professor Mark Frye, Professor Colleen Loo, Anne Mortimer,
Dr Angelo Virgona, Professor Philip Mitchell