Family and Mental Health Services – Systems, Cultures and Ways Forward

October 17, 2017

Dr Sabin Fernbacher, Principal Policy Adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services will be at this year’s 2017 STOP Domestic Violence Conference.

Dr Fernbacher will be discussing “Family and mental health services – systems, cultures and ways forward“.

Dr Sabin Fernbacher

The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the need to improve Victoria’s response to family violence, including mental health services. Research suggests that many women will disclose family violence and sexual assault to a trusted health professional in the context of seeking care for themselves or their children. Mental health services may also see those who perpetrate family violence in the course of their work.

The Commission made a number of recommendations designed to improve the response of publicly funded mental health services. These span the development of a guideline; increasing mental health services’ capacity to respond to family violence and work towards greater collaboration with other services.

The intention of the work by the Department of Health and Human Services/Mental Health Branch in response to the Commission’s recommendations aims to move towards a more consistent, strategic and systemic response by mental health services. This includes facilitating work across different systems and organisational cultures to provide a more connected service response between mental health and family violence services.

The Bouverie Centre has worked with the Branch on developing the Chief Psychiatrist Guideline on family violence. This work includes conducting a situational analysis which involved consulting service users, families and service providers about the challenges of practice in this area and the opportunities for improvement. The findings from the situational analysis will inform the development of the guideline and work towards building the capacity of mental health services to respond to family violence.

In this presentation we will provide an overview of the major findings from the situational analysis and discuss how they can contribute to an improved response to family violence in mental health services.