Suicide support group

A support group for people who have lost loved ones to suicide will meet in Bathurst early next month. Dr Suzanne Alder, a psychologist working with Busby Medical Practice will be hosting the support group. The Bathurst Suicide Support Group will meet in The Cottage at 202 Howick Street opposite the practice from noon this Thursday, September 2.

The group will be run by participants not professionals, however Dr Alder will always be nearby if anyone needs to speak with her. Initially she will guide participants through their first group experiences and start the discussion. Dr Alder said suicide is a very real problem in Bathurst and the surrounding region.

Water weighs on mental health

The Rural Mental Health Network is urging Government to keep the social impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan in mind to safeguard the mental health of rural communities.

With the impending release of the draft Plan, the potential impacts headlined discussions at today's meeting of the Network in Sydney. Rural Mental Health Network Chairman Sarah Thompson said there is concern about the social and economic consequences of any permanent water reductions associated with the Plan.

Patient safety in primary health care (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care ) : Call for comment

In Australia the most common exposure of people to the health care system occurs at the primary health care level. Almost one in five people visit a general practitioner and one in ten visit an allied health professional in any given two week period.

Primary health care is a diverse field involving many different types of health professionals such as doctors, nurses, allied health workers, dentists, pharmacists, and pathology and imaging professionals. Primary health care encompasses services provided by public and private health care organisations, and may be delivered through a range of different access points such as a practice, clinic, at home, in the community or at schools.

A broad range of professional quality improvement activities are undertaken in primary health care. However, there is limited evidence regarding patient safety and the effectiveness of patient safety solutions in primary health care. Much of the Australian research that exists focuses on incidents and errors in general practice or medicine safety risks in the community. Little is known of patient risks within the wider primary health care sector.

There is general agreement among stakeholders that given the size of the sector, the breadth of services provided, the frequency with which people access these services and the important role that primary health care plays in influencing the health of the population it is important that the care provided through primary health care is safe and that risks of unnecessary harm are minimised.

This program seeks to clarify our understanding of the patient safety issues in primary health care including the research, tools and activities that are currently used to address patient safety issues, and identifying gaps and opportunities to support organisations in strengthening their capacity for implementing effective patient safety solutions in the primary health care sector.

Patient Safety in Primary Health Care Discussion Paper and Consultation

As a first step in this program of work the Commission is seeking to clarify its understanding of patient safety issues in primary health care in Australia, including identifying key priorities and solutions both nationally and internationally that could be applied to the Australian primary health care context.

A draft discussion paper on Patient Safety in Primary Health Care has been developed for public consultation. It is open for comment until 15 October, 2010. This paper seeks to broadly map potential patient safety issues, the type of work that is currently being undertaken both nationally and internationally to mitigate patient safety risks, the national primary health care policy environment and identification of key stakeholder groups.

The findings of this consultation process will be used to inform the Commission's consideration of activities it could undertake or support to strengthen patient safety in primary health care in Australia.

Travelling well : meeting indigenous transport needs

A community report highlighting how the unmet transport needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban, regional and remote areas significantly contribute to poor health and psycho-social outcomes has just been published by the Lowitja Institute.

Entitled Aboriginal People Travelling Well, the report focused on the interaction between access to safe transport and the health and wellbeing of people in several distinct South Australian Aboriginal communities - in metropolitan Adelaide, in the regional centre of Ceduna and the remote community of Yalata on SA's far west coast.

Among the key issues identified are that people often travel unsafely when there is a health crisis in their family, and that reluctance to travel away from family and community supports contributes to under-servicing of health needs and continuing poor health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Added to this are difficulties encountered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in qualifying for drivers' licences, in being able to afford the purchase and servicing of mechanically sound vehicles, and in accessing public transport when such services are either expensive or non-existent in many regional and remote areas.

Printed copies will soon be available for order on-line.

Health Education and Community Indicators for NSW (NSW Parliamentary Library eBriefs )

This Parliamentary eBrief contains a selection of statistical indicators in the fields of health, education and community in New South Wales. It provides an informative snapshot of trends in New South Wales as compared with national figures. The focus is on how the situation has changed in recent years.

Cochrane Journal Club

A very useful alternative when searching for a last minute evidence-based journal club presentation, is the new Cochrane Journal Club.

Cochrane Journal Club is a free, monthly publication that introduces a recent Cochrane review, together with relevant background information, a podcast explaining the key points of the review, discussion questions to help you to explore the review methods and findings in more detail, and complete downloadable PowerPoint presentations containing key figures and tables. You can even contact the review authors with your questions.

Aimed at trainees, researchers and clinicians alike, every Cochrane Journal Club article is specially selected from the hundreds of new and updated reviews published in each issue of The Cochrane Library representing diverse clinical topics, and each one focuses on a review of special interest, such as practice-changing reviews, new methodology and evidence-based practice.

For those working on their own presentation for journal club, the Cochrane Powerpoints also provide a good design template for developing your own presentations.

The range and magnitude of alcohol's harm to others

This research report by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation provides both a broad overview and detailed insight into the problems the drinking of others has on Australians. The impacts from the drinking of others vary dramatically. At one end of the spectrum Australians are affected by nuisance inconveniences, such as street noise or having to avoid public parks, or petty costs from damaged property. At the other end harms can be severe, such as child abuse or physical violence or death. The public health impacts of alcohol from others' drinking are of major concern.

This report addresses a number of critical questions: How many Australians are
affected by others' drinking? Who is affected? What is the relationship between those who have been affected and the drinker? How are Australians affected or harmed? What are the costs for others in trouble, in time, in money? This report provides a first set of answers to such questions.

Answers to these questions stem from a variety of data collected by social and health agencies, including police data, road crash morbidity and mortality data, death statistics, hospital records, child protection agency data, and alcohol and drug services and helpline data. Data from previous population surveys are also analysed. And much data in the study comes from a special survey of more than 2,600 Australian adults who answered detailed questions about their experiences and consequences from the drinking of others.

"Two Ways Together" report

A new report assessing the lives of indigenous people in New South Wales shows the gap is continuing to widen on the key indicators of health, education and violence. "Two Ways Together : report on indicators 2009" compares progress between indigenous and non-indigenous people across the state. It presents a stark picture.

Aboriginal women are six times more likely to be involved in family related violence than non-Aboriginal women and reports of child abuse and neglect among Aboriginal children increased by 71 per cent over the reporting period. While the number of Aboriginal students achieving Year 12 has more than doubled over the five years to 2008, there is still a significant gap in the achievement of Aboriginal students in NAPLAN testing. While the suicide rate for Aboriginal people has declined, they are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised for self-harm than the total population.

ABC News report

Families then and now: 1980-2010

This paper by Alan Hayes, Ruth Weston, Lixia Qu and Matthew Gray reviews data collected over three decades, and shows an increase in divorce rates,a decline in marriage rates and family size, and a shift to double income families and paid childcare. Compared with 30 years ago, parenthood today tends to start later in life, couples tend to have fewer children, and both parents are likely to be in paid employment.

Men's health - clinical summary guidelines (Andrology Australia )

A series of clinical summary guides on the management of male sexual and reproductive health have been developed by Andrology Australia to assist health professionals in the management of their male patients. Topics recently added include : engaging men in primary health care settings, prostate disease, male infertility and erectile dysfunction.

Chronic kidney disease hospitalisations in Australia 2000-01 to 2007-08 (AIHW)

In 2007-08, chronic kidney disease (CKD) contributed to 15% (nearly 1.2 million) of all hospitalisations in Australia, one million of which were for regular dialysis. Indigenous Australians were hospitalised at 11 times the rate of other Australians for regular dialysis, and at 5 times the rate for other principal and additional CKD diagnoses. Hospitalisations for regular dialysis increased by an average of 60,000 per year between 2000-01 and 2007-08, equating to a 71% increase over this period. Increases of 12% for other principal diagnoses of CKD and 48% for additional diagnoses were also recorded.

Media release

How's Your Sugar ? Website

How's your sugar? was developed for Indigenous people by Indigenous people. The design intention was to provide information on living well for people with type 2 diabetes based on Diabetes Australia"s "ten points to healthy living"

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report (AIHW)

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in Australian women. BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 is the tenth report presenting national statistics (combining data from the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 reporting periods) on key program activity, performance and outcome indicators for BreastScreen Australia, which aims to reduce mortality and morbidity from breast cancer through detecting cancers early.

Since BreastScreen Australia commenced in 1991, mortality from breast cancer has decreased steadily. Further, more than half of all invasive breast cancers detected by BreastScreen Australia are small, with small breast cancers associated with increased treatment options and improved survival.

Media release

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2006-2007 and 2007-2008: Supplementary data tables

Towards a national dementia preventative health strategy

This paper sets out the case for the establishment of a National Dementia Preventative Health Strategy. With the prevalence of dementia projected to reach around one million by 2050 and the cost of dementia care set to outstrip any other health condition, it is timely that dementia takes its place in national preventative health planning.

It is proposed that the framework for a National Dementia Preventative Health Strategy should be guided by eight principles that are in accord with the national Chronic Disease Strategy, namely:

* Adopt a population health approach to dementia

* Invest in research to investigate prevention, early intervention and treatment of dementia

* Implement dementia risk reduction strategies

* Build community capacity to optimise self-management of risk factors

* Provide effective care

* Facilitate integrated multi-disciplinary care across services, settings and sectors

* Achieve significant and sustainable change

* Monitor progress.

Mental health services in Australia 2007-08 (AIHW)

Mental Health Services in Australia 2007-08 is the twelfth in the series of annual reports providing a detailed picture of the national response to the mental health care needs of Australians. Details from a wide range of data sources for the 2007-08 period, and where available 2008-09, are presented, as are changes over time. Expenditure on state and territory mental health services has been increasing on average by 6% per year (adjusted for inflation) since 2003-04, states and territories spent $3,323 million on these services in 2007-08. There were 4.6 million Medicare claims for subsidised psychiatrist, psychologist and other allied health professional services in 2008-09, an increase of 17.4% from the previous year.

Media release

Australian Indigenous Mental Health (Website)

Australian Indigenous Mental Health has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative. The site aims to support the work of health professionals in improving knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait mental health issues and to achieve better outcomes.

The Dance of Life model employed by the site combines paintings, narrative, theory and existing evidence in a framework to assist practitioners in understanding the complexities in Indigenous mental health.

The site features case studies, guidelines, key issues (including social determinants, the Stolen Generation, substance abuse etc), useful resources and links.

beyondblue Directory of e-mental health - services and therapies

beyondblue Directory of e-mental health - services and therapies is a welcome new addition to the beyondblue website. The directory aims to assist the large number of people who need help for anxiety or depression, but who are without ready access to services. The directory lists 37 internet-based services, with contact details, and a description of the program.

The directory includes a range of sites : self help, self-help with clinician guidance, sites for students and young people, professional development sites for mental health professionals, and even online screening tools.

E-mental health is a rapidly growing area : this page is one to watch.

Australian Early Development Index (AEDI)

The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) is a population measure of children's development in communities across Australia. The AEDI gives us a national picture of children's health and development. The results pinpoint strengths in the community as well as what can be improved.

AEDI Checklists were completed for 261,203 children (97.5 per cent of the estimated five-year-old population) in their first year of full-time school across Australia by 15,528 teachers from 7,423 Government, Catholic and Independent schools (95.6 per cent of schools with eligible children).

Teachers reported over 5 domains :

* Physical health and wellbeing

* Social competence

* Emotional maturity

* Language and cognitive skills (school-based)

* Communication skills and general knowledge

Overall 4.4 % were already known to have a developmental vulnerability (DV) and 10% required further assessment. The three main problems found in the 4.4% already with a problem were speech, learning disability and behavioural. For those requiring assessment : speech; behavioural problems and problems at home. Going to preschool was protective.

Individual area and community statistics are now available, as well as a national summary, A Snapshot of Early Childhood Development in Australia : Australian Early Development Index AEDI) National Report 2009

Health Reform in N.S.W. : proposed local health networks in N.S.W. Have your say !!

Today the Premier Kristina Keneally and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt have released a discussion paper proposing the establishment of 17 Local Health Networks in New South Wales. The establishment of Local Health Networks (LHNs) are a key component in driving the implementation of the Commonwealth health reforms.

The Discussion Paper represents the next significant step in the reform process and proposes 15 LHNs comprising a group of hospitals with geographical or functional links which will work closely with new Medicare Locals to ensure better integration of services.In addition there will be 2 specialist networks : the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead) and Forensic Services. The paper gives a practical outline of the responsibilities of LHNs including: local planning and delivery of clinical services, budget management, clinical governance, patient services, infection control and workforce management. Each LHN will have a Chief Executive and Governing Council which will comprise members with a variety of health, clinical, business and other skills. Local clinicians will be included in the membership of governing councils.

Once the boundaries are finalised the necessary changes will be made to establish the Local Health Networks which will replace the current eight Area Health Services.

Some key principles will underpin these changes including:

* No disruption to direct patient care services
* These changes will not result in reduction of front line staff
* Openness and transparency in providing information to staff.

Submissions are sought from all interested parties. The discussion paper gives details on how to make submissions. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2010.

Community and Primary mental health care

The Mental Health Council of Australia has published this background paper in response to the NHHRC report in 2009 which recommended an examination of the scope and complexity of community mental health care.

Community Mental Health and Primary Mental Health Care seeks to clarify points of overlap and difference between primary health care and community mental health. It also identifies how their linkages could be strengthened whilst ensuring maintenance of the capacity and integrity of specialist mental health services delivered in the community.

Associated with this background paper are new Community Mental Health Guiding Principles developed to clarify the nature and scope of community mental health care, and to provide principles to guide its further development across Australia.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children (AIHW)

Type 1 diabetes is a serious, life-long disease which causes a major health, social and economic burden for individuals with the disease, their families and the community. There were over 8,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes diagnosed in Australian children between 2000 and 2008, an average of two new cases every day. But, while the rate of new cases increased significantly over the first part of the decade (2000-2004), there has been little change since 2005. Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children 2000-2008 presents the latest available national data on new cases of Type 1 diabetes for children from Australia's National Diabetes Register.

Media release

Mental health of young people, 2007 [ABS]

This article provides a brief overview of the mental health of young people aged 16-24 years in Australia. It includes information on the prevalence of mental disorders for people in this age group, as well as their socioeconomic characteristics, level of impairment and the health service usage of young people with mental illness. Data are sourced from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB).

Adolescence and young adulthood is a critical stage of transition, in physical and mental development. Vulnerability to mental illness is heightened at this time of major life change and over three-quarters (76%) of people who experience mental disorder during their lifetime will first develop a disorder before the age of 25 years. Mental disorders in young people can seriously disrupt their growth and development, eroding quality of life by affecting their self-confidence and independence, and social and family relationships, as well as their education and employment.