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Paramedics and clinicians team up to respond to mental health calls


Paramedics and mental health professionals are teaming up to respond to mental health crises on the Sunshine Coast.

Following a successful pilot program elsewhere in the south east, a new collaboration between the Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Health has been expanded to include crews based at Birtinya Ambulance Station this week.

Program director Sandra Garner says the initiative involves pairing up a senior mental health clinician with a senior paramedic to respond to mental health-related incidents.

"We are able to provide the same type of assessment that happens in an emergency department but to people who are in their own homes," she says.

Ms Garner says the program will also help take pressure off hospital emergency departments and help provider speedier assistance for people, in their own home.

"First responders play an important role with a person who is experiencing a mental health crisis, particularly a suicide crisis."

"The sooner that we can get those appropriate interventions and assessments, that we're able to provide appropriate treatments to people at home, the more swift their recovery is."

Ms Garner says paramedics see a lot of people in distress everyday across Queensland. 

"The Queensland Ambulance Services receives over 200 calls a day from people who are experiencing a mental health crisis throughout the state and that's been increasing 20 per cent, year on year for the past five years."