The Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN) is a federally-funded initiative targeted at improving interdisciplinary practice and collaborative care in the primary mental health care sector. It does this by supporting two platforms through which mental health practitioners can engage in networking and professional development activities that directly promote interdisciplinary practice – local practitioner networks, and our online professional development program.

MHPN practitioner networks promote a collaborative approach to mental health treatment that directly benefits those receiving care, strengthen professional relationships and enhance referral pathways between local practitioners and services, and create new opportunities for ongoing local professional development and peer support.

MHPN is pleased to be working with the Amaranth Foundation to establish the Rural End of Life and Palliative Care Network, an interdisciplinary network for health practitioners who support the mental health needs of people living with a life limiting illness and requiring palliative care in the Riverina and surrounding areas.

The network provides a platform for professional development, peer support and allows members to develop a greater understanding of the social, emotional, psychological and existential needs of people, their families and care givers, living with a life limiting illness. The network met for the first time in April 2014 in Wagga Wagga, with a range of different health professionals attending, including social workers, psychologists, a GP, a mental health nurse, a melanoma care nurse, and a Mental Health  mental health peer support worker. We received positive feedback from the meeting Professionals’ Network that there was a lot of cross-discipline sharing and respect, open information and resource sharing and awareness-raising. The network plans to meet quarterly.

We also have plans to develop a national online network with this focus in 2015.