Partnerships strengthening the gap in mental health

Released on 9th March 2016

Pictured (left – right): Gordon Conochie (cohealth), Brigid Ryan (AAMH), Dean Alexander (cohealth), Sok Hong, Huong Pisey and Sao Chamroeun (Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Ministry of Health, Cambodia).

In an effort to develop and strengthen Mental Health services in Cambodia three young psychiatric registrars were selected to undertake community-based mental health training at leading service providers in Victoria.

As part of the two week training program the psychiatrists visited St Vincent’s Mental Health Service and cohealth’s Community Mental Health services to gain an understanding of community mental health systems of care and approaches to treatment for people with mental illness in Australia.

cohealth’s has more than 30 years experience providing Community Mental Health services across Melbourne’s inner CBD, western and northern suburbs through its three founding organisations.

Their Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) and Homeless Outreach Mental Health Services (HOMHS) especially provide vital one-on-one services out in the community that support people recovering from a range of mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness.

cohealth’s Director of Community Mental Health, Sally Mitchell said, ‘cohealth supports the development of community-based mental health services that optimise opportunities for people with multiple and complex needs to recover through collaboration and partnership.’

Due to a lack of workforce development in Cambodia there’s a shortage of trained psychiatrists and limited prospects for specialist training. These three Psychiatric Registrars have a rare chance to complete specialised training in the field and hope to take key learnings about cohealth’s community-based model to apply to their professional practice back home.

Project Manager at Asia Australia Mental Health (AAMH), Brigid Ryan said, ‘It is important these young psychiatrists are well trained and develop strong international support to help them improve professional standards and lead their mental health system in future.’

This training program was funded by the Thomas Trauer Fund established by the St Vincent’s Foundation in 2013 to support the development of mental health services in the Asia Pacific.

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