Help us to improve the NSW Mental Health Line

Share your knowledge and ideas to help the NSW Government improve the Mental Health Line.

What is the Mental Health Line?

The NSW Mental Health Line is a free service that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering advice, support, triage and referral to specialist NSW mental health services.

A mental health clinician will listen to your needs over the phone and help you access the most appropriate service.

Have Your Say

We want to hear from people who have lived experience of mental illness as well as people who have lived experience of caring for someone with mental ill health. Even if you have not used the Mental Health Line before, we would still like to hear from you.

Your feedback will be used to help improve the user experience of the Mental Health Line across NSW.

Do a quick poll, complete the survey or share ideas. Everything you say will remain anonymous and nothing you say will affect your access to services.

We are consulting widely on this. There will be opportunities to share further feedback as part of a group discussion to help improve the Mental Health Line. Please email us to register your interest.

Thank you for your feedback

This consultation is now closed. Thank you for participating. We are currently reviewing your feedback.


Share your knowledge and ideas to help the NSW Government improve the Mental Health Line.

What is the Mental Health Line?

The NSW Mental Health Line is a free service that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering advice, support, triage and referral to specialist NSW mental health services.

A mental health clinician will listen to your needs over the phone and help you access the most appropriate service.

Have Your Say

We want to hear from people who have lived experience of mental illness as well as people who have lived experience of caring for someone with mental ill health. Even if you have not used the Mental Health Line before, we would still like to hear from you.

Your feedback will be used to help improve the user experience of the Mental Health Line across NSW.

Do a quick poll, complete the survey or share ideas. Everything you say will remain anonymous and nothing you say will affect your access to services.

We are consulting widely on this. There will be opportunities to share further feedback as part of a group discussion to help improve the Mental Health Line. Please email us to register your interest.

Thank you for your feedback

This consultation is now closed. Thank you for participating. We are currently reviewing your feedback.


Explaining the Mental Health Line

How would you briefly explain the Mental Health Line to someone who has not heard about the service?

Please note your comment shared in this section of the consultation can be viewed by visitors to the page.  

If your comment is not on topic, it will be removed. 

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded. Thank you for your feedback.

May I please add a short note to my other message, where I quoted the passage from Dr Edith Eger's book, The Choice

She writes in her book that the white supremacist she was counseling:


“he hadn’t joined an extremist group because he was born with hate.

He was seeking what we all want:

acceptance, attention, affection."


I realise your job is not an easy one. Especially when you're dealing with people with such strong emotions - these are difficult to handle - you always have to be on your toes - and you have to be mindful of how one's own emotional state is going - it's a challenging role you have - and a very important role too

Even when you're dealing with a difficult caller, realise that they simply want, as Dr Eger writes,

Acceptance

Attention

Affection.


Which is what we all want.

.....................

Could I suggest that even when they may say something that is against the rules (like what Dr Edith Eger's patient said when he said he wanted to kill all non-white people) that you please NOT terminate the call at that point? Don't hang up on them.

Instead, realise that this person needs help. If ANYONE needs help, it is THIS PERSON.

And YOU can play an active role in delivering that help that they need.

YOU can play a role in healing this community.

Maybe the whole world has treated them with scorn - you can be the small light that shows them there is some hope and that they are not alone - there is a chance for them.

YOU can be the person who helps turn their life around.

So instead of seeing a caller's rude statements as a chance to put up your defensive walls and to hang up - instead see it through a COMPASSIONATE LENS and see that as a sign that they need help. And YOU are in the position to deliver that help because they have called YOU.

YOU are in the position to begin the Healing.

WL 3 months ago

May I please make another suggestion:

When you conduct training with a live call, please DO NOT DO THIS ON SPEAKER PHONE.

(Sorry to put this in all caps, however I can't italicise things in this online form)

Please ask your technology or IT department to give you headphones to enable you to conduct this training, so that ONLY the staff member being trained is able to hear the Trainer. That is, only the staff member being trained can hear TWO voices.

Today, when I called MHL I could hear TWO voices - BOTH the trainee and the trainer as the training was being conducted with my call on speaker phone.

This morning I called up the Mental Health Line and because the training was being done on speaker phone I could hear all the words the Trainer was saying - and then these exact words were repeated by the Trainee staff member.

This felt so disconcerting and CONFUSING to me.

I didn't know why this was happening. So I asked, "Is there someone talking in the background" as I thought it could have been an open office so there were people handling other calls nearby.

Please request from your technology department headphone equipment so that only the trainee staff member can heart the TWO voices.

The caller should only hear one voice, would you agree?



Yes, I DO believe training should be provided to trainees.

I'm just asking that it be provided in a way that doesn't cause confusion and consternation amongst the people you're trying to help.

It was just confusing and somewhat distressing to hear TWO voices all the time when calling MHL this morning.

Thank you for being open to our comments and feedback

Thank you so much also for trying to help people.

I realise this is not an easy job - especially to help people who are not always easy to work with - and who are experiencing strong emotions when they call

Thank you for your work trying to help people

You have a really important job and role in helping to heal our community

WL 3 months ago

Thank you to the Mental Health Line and NSW Health for asking for our feedback.

May I please make a couple of suggestions.

1.

Could you preface your initial questions about which suburb and street you are in with a short phrase about why you need that information?

As you realise, if someone is in distress, and the MHL (Mental Health Line) person is asking these sorts of questions up front, it raises the question, "why the heck do they need this information now?"

If the MHL person simply says something like, "Do you mind if I ask you your suburb? At the Mental Health Line, we have different sections and I have to put your call through to the right section who can assist people in your suburb?"

2.

May I please suggest that the MHL people do a lot more work in developing ways to process THEIR OWN emotions when taking calls.

I can sense they themselves are getting frustrated or defensive sometimes - and this doesn't help with delivering quality care and counseling to the caller.

Realise that the callers are distressed and may have undergone trauma, so they are not in the best headspace - Don't take their behaviour personally. Be kind-hearted to them even if are difficult to work with.

AND implement the strategies that you've been trained in - for example taking deep breaths, visualising your heart opening and rays of light shining outwardly to the person you're talking to.

And BEFORE each call and IN BETWEEN each call, the MHL staff can do these same practices too to get them ready for the next call - for example a body scan mindfulness guided meditation.

May I suggest that your staff read this handout: WHAT AN ANGRY CHILD NEEDS TO HEAR which you can see here (if you email me I can email this pdf to you):
https://www.facebook.com/biglifejournal/photos/a.1564592313836813/2706638782965488/?

I feel that this handout also explains what an angry, upset, or DISTRESSED ADULT needs to hear.

This handout was so beneficial, the private hospital (St John of God Hospital) staff printed this out to put on their wall and in their classroom when I emailed it to them.

The above handout was prepared by a psychologist.

May I also suggest that staff read pages also read pages 298-301 of the book The Choice by Dr Edith Eger, who is a Jewish psychologist who survived the Holocaust in a concentration camp.

I wrote above about how I encourage your staff to be more OPEN-HEARTED when dealing with distressed callers - and to practice strategies to keep their hearts open, WHEN THEY FEEL THEY MIGHT BE CLOSING.

These few pages from her book describe how this Jewish psychologist handled a patient who upfront at the start of the psychology session said to her that he wanted to "kill all Jewish, all the n----s, all the Mexicans, all the chinks". She was a Holocaust survivor whose own family was killed - so this statement really affected her, understandably.

This is what she did in response and throughout the whole counseling session:


She prayed,

adjusted her body language to be kind and open,

visualised loving him,

saw this as an opportunity to heal,

chose to move in the direction of love,

listened, and

empathised."


Do you think the MHL staff could receive training to do the same?

(Being a secular organisation, I realise you can't train people to pray, however you can say to people that if they have a faith, they can pray if they would like to - it's just like how you recognise staff members' religious needs, for example by giving Muslims daily time to pray and observe Ramadan.)

Thank you very much for being open to our comments

WL 3 months ago

To: Melinda-Gaye Frazer

We’re sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve experienced trying to access services. We don’t want anyone to feel unsupported. Please contact your GP who can help you access services you are seeking. If you don’t have a GP, there are other services that you can contact. You can contact Head to Health on 1800 595 212 for mental health information, services and support. A number of helplines offer immediate support, including Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467). If you need to access specialist NSW Health mental health services, you can ring the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511. In a life-threatening situation, please call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

AnnaS 3 months ago

Don't just worry how we can improve mental health lines. How about providing Psychiatrist in rural areas. Give them the incentive to stay and long contracts. I've taken 1.5 years to get a zoom meeting with one, 6 hours away as a one off for a diagnosis of PTSD and Bipolar I. How ridiculous, hope medication work as GP know very little about medication/treatment. The mental health care system in the rural areas are like living in a third world country. NSW Health should be ashamed of their service. Wonder why suicide is common in rural area? You have your answer!

JohnoS 3 months ago

The mental health line is an absolute joke and so are all your replies to those who have commented.

Melinda-Gaye Frazer 3 months ago

When your own go refuses to help. When NSW Health refuses to help, when local members of parliament refuse to help. The whole bloody system needs a massive overhaul coz it's pathetic that I can't get help for someone who wants to commit suicide. You aren't doing your jobs very well

Melinda-Gaye Frazer 3 months ago

Although the help for Mental Health is good at the start it fails for long term sufferers. I have had Major Clinical Depression for over twenty (20) years. There is no help available from the major organizations. Regards

rickles23 3 months ago

To: tiredofaskingforhelp

We’re sorry to hear your experience of the Mental Health Line has caused you distress.

We can’t comment on why you weren’t referred to the local mental health team but it would be expected that the MHL clinician would have provided you with information about other suitable local community services that could assist you.

There are a number of services that you can contact for immediate support and counselling like Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Qlife on 1800 184 527. You can also consider calling Head to Health for mental health information, services and support on 1800 595 212.

Thank you for your feedback. Your feedback is being taken on board to improve interactions with other callers to the MHL in the future and the care provided to the people of NSW.

AnnaS 3 months ago

Unfortunately I have found every experience disappointing (have probably called 5 times in the last two years). None have ever resulted in any assistance. The last time I had just come out of 5 months in hospital and when they referred me through to my local district, I was not seen as having complex enough issues to receive assistance. I wish they had of given evidence to the Mental Health Tribunal 5 months ago. So here I am, again after about 1 month at home with absolutely no support in the community and trying to do it on my own. I know it’s not worth calling back again, and there is no other avenues that I know of that can link me in with community services.

tiredofaskingforhelp 3 months ago

thank you for that opportunity

unimportant 3 months ago

The Mental Health Line is a service that can offer advise and support for the mental health needs of you and your loved one. The team who run the MHL are able to triage you concerns and escalate care to the right level, to a service that works for you, and at the right time.

G3nerator 3 months ago

The mental Health Line is for either someone experiencing a mental health crisis and/or concerned family/friend/colleague etc.
However if the persons life is at imminent risk 000 should be accessed.
The Mental Health Line an avenue of support and direct referral access, if required to your most direct Community Mental Health team for assessment and triage as required for mental health treatment/support.

Mel W 4 months ago

Don’t give up on the war on cannabis.
Cannabis use is like being drunk and creates anxiety. And can impact harshly on relationships and careers. We have a duty of care to stop drug use.

CreatorLove 4 months ago

Never heard of it. How does it work with not for profits eg Lifeline, 1800Respect etc? Is it providing value for money? Aak someone in the field. They have a low opinion of it. Could money be better invested through more collaboration with larger services? Very low profile. Low impact?

Lucy Turnbull 4 months ago

Unfortunately, I have not found engaging with the mental health line (MHL) of any benefit to my patients /consumers.

I have only managed to have one referral accepted and even then it was closed as client not found at the address.

My clients are members of vulnerable community's such as first nations people, LGBTIQ+, asylum seekers/refugees, people living with a life limiting illness so it follows that there are degrees of instability in their lives which may make the system (MHL) challenging to locate and work with them.
But not do so is condemn people to quite lives of distress.

There has to be a middle ground between scheduling a person (000) and recommending a person attend an E.D. for care and support. Many people do not have G.P. and G.P. can do not a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment for a person experience acute mental health issues (in 15 min, not even in 30 min for a longer appointment).

I have worked in health for 17 year and I unfortunately can not indorse the MHL, but I do begrudgingly use it to ensure I am covering all bases for my patients.

Mental Health needs to be centralised in NSW and Australia to follow it to follow and respond to a person mental health needs. It should be far more trauma informed and less punitive, it needs to be more culturally safe and respecting and discharge should include a substantial tail in community support for 12+ months.

I really want the system to change and not be off loaded to the market.
HCW can do this work, we just need the resources.

P.S. Yes, I did the survey.

MS 4 months ago

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Phil Tuohy 4 months ago

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Phil Tuohy 4 months ago

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Phil Tuohy 4 months ago

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Phil Tuohy 4 months ago