The Hospital Research Foundation Group has provided $125,000 in funding to SA Ambulance Service to trial a mental health-trained paramedic, able to support Triple Zero (000) callers requiring mental health assistance.
The six-month pilot will see an experienced mental health paramedic working within the SAAS Emergency Operations Centre 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
They will help provide timely, high-quality mental health assessments over the phone and help identify what kind of care or intervention is necessary.
The trial, alongside other initiatives such as the Mental Health Co-Response program and the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre, will help divert mental health patients away from emergency departments and to more appropriate care.
The mental health-trained paramedic will have access to up-to-date mental health databases to give informed advice around an appropriate course of action on a case-by-case basis.
SAAS Interim Executive Director, Kate Clarke said the pilot aims to improve services to South Australians who experience critical mental health issues.
“By responding with the right care right from the initial stages of the patient journey, we will be able to deliver better outcomes for those experiencing a mental health crisis. This may be support at home, referral to alternative care or hospital treatment” said Ms Clarke.
The Hospital Research Foundation Group CEO Paul Flynn said the Hospital Research Foundation Group is proud to support this initiative. It will provide a timely response around treatment options for South Australians experiencing a mental health related crisis.
“Providing real time support to patients who have called Triple Zero (000) with mental health concerns will support their decision-making and lead to patients receiving the appropriate care in the right environment when having an acute mental health crisis” said Mr Flynn.
The pilot has also been designed to help streamline the emergency response approach by sharing ambulance and mental health databases and networks.
The six-month pilot will conclude on 30 June 2023.