News • 28 May 2024

Open Minds improves support for Ipswich community through Medicare Mental Health Centre

Open Minds is providing accessible mental health and crisis support to the Ipswich community with the opening of its third Medicare Mental Health Centre (formerly Head to Health), in partnership with Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN.

Medicare Mental Health Centre is a federally funded service delivering free advice, assessment and treatment to people of all ages experiencing mental health challenges.

Leading mental health and psychosocial disability support provider, Open Minds will operate the Ipswich service as lead agency, with the Hon. Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention unveiling the plaque to formally mark the opening.

Open Minds Chief Executive Officer, Kate Johnson said Open Minds is pleased to offer the Ipswich community a safe and welcoming space for people seeking support for themselves or a loved one.

“Ipswich Medicare Mental Health Centre provides welcoming and low–stigma entry to mental health support,” said Kate.

“With expertise in providing community mental health services, Open Minds is passionate about improving the mental wellbeing of people in this community and its surrounds.”

“I really encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to take the first step and come into the centre to ask for help.”

Open Minds has been delivering services to more than 220 individuals through the Ipswich Head to Health pop–up service on East Street since late 2023.

The new, permanent location in the recently refurbished Nicholas Street features 12 consult rooms; including a family room, low sensory room, pet friendly room, laundry facilities, a shower, and disability friendly bathroom.

The Nicholas Street site provides a lift directly from the carpark to the reception door ensuring convenience and privacy.

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN Chief Executive Officer, Lucille Chalmers said the new service is extremely important for the region.

“We know that mental health is a significant concern in Ipswich and across the broader West Moreton region, and that our communities need support with their mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety,” said Lucille.

“Unfortunately, in the 2021 Census the most common long–term health condition in Ipswich was a mental health condition – at 11% of the population – higher than the Queensland (9.6) and national (8.8) averages.”

“The good news is, Medicare Mental Health Centre can offer direct support to those with immediate need but will also connect people to other mental health services across the region.”

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN secured funding for the site in May 2022 as part of a national $487.2 million Mental Health and Suicide Prevention package.

The establishment of Ipswich Medicare Mental Health Centre involved a comprehensive co-design process in consultation with GPs, service providers, representatives from West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, community members and people with a lived or living experience of mental ill health.

Staff are trained in Trauma Informed Support and Suicide Prevention Support and have a focus on fostering strong connections with priority population groups such as CALD, LGBTIQA+, people with a disability and First Nations.

The multidisciplinary team includes individuals with a lived or living experience of mental ill health, psychosocial wellbeing coordinators, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses.

Open Minds is excited to grow the Ipswich Medicare Mental Health Centre and is looking for passionate individuals to join the team. To view current vacancies, visit https://openminds.org.au/careers/.

Open Minds is proud to be delivering Medicare Mental Health Centres in Lismore and Kingaroy.

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