Vital expansion for Ipswich Hospital service

ANYTIME HELP: Director Acute Services Michelle Giles inside the now 24/7 mental health support call centre at Ipswich Hospital.
ANYTIME HELP: Director Acute Services Michelle Giles inside the now 24/7 mental health support call centre at Ipswich Hospital. David Nielsen

ONE call could be all it takes to save a life and Ipswich residents can make it any time.

A 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call centre has just been opened at Ipswich Hospital after a major funding boost.

The specialist call centre staff are entirely dedicated to fielding queries about mental health and offering advice on the best way to access services.

It means patients and family members who are unsure about where to go, or what to do in a crisis, will always have someone in the local health service to call for help.

The initiative is also part of an overall Queensland Health approach to reduce the burden on emergency departments and reduce the number of hospitalisations for mental-health related illness.

The call centre initiative is slowly rolling out across the state.

Last week, West Moreton Hospital Health was handed a $4.7 million funding increase for the Ipswich-based Mental Health Acute Care Team, as part of the State Budget.

The call centre isn't the only expansion in the works either.

More staff will perform home visits, as part of an after care service, which will also now operate on the weekends.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service operational director of community and acute services, Michelle Giles said this service was essential.

"One in five Queenslanders will experience a mental illness throughout their lives," Ms Giles said.

"(Taking calls) is a really crucial part of our service.

"If someone has a loved one with a mental illness and they are showing signs they are not well - it may be the first encounter someone has with a mental illness - the family member may be frightened, confused, they may not know what is going on.

"The person who is experiencing that illness may not be able to see they have a mental illness... so it's really important for family members and patients themselves to have somewhere they can call and ask questions."

Similar call centres have operated for more than two years at the Gold Coast and are operational in other areas.

Save this number

1300 MH CALL, or 1300 64 2255, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to access vital information regarding mental health treatment and support. You will speak with a West Moreton Hospital and Health Service staff member.

Topics:  health ipswich mental health

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