The PULSAR project (Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery) aims to implement and evaluate recovery-oriented practice in mental health across primary care sites and specialist mental health services in the catchment of Monash Health.
Recovery-oriented practice aims to support people in their personal recovery goals by improving their mental health and wellness, live in a self-directed life, and reach their full potential.
The $2.3 million project is being funded by the Victorian Government to set up training and assess the application of recovery-oriented practice in primary care and specialist mental health.
Professor Graham Meadows, who is leading the project through Southern Synergy at Monash University, said GPs were being offered a unique opportunity to bring their care in line with recover-oriented practice.
“This is different from other mental health training that GPs will have done, and aims to build on the experience of GPs who are treating patients with a range of mental health conditions.”
Professor Meadows said connectedness, hope, identity, meaning, and empowerment were key themes in the practice approach, which resonated with many GPs who are inspired with the principles of patient centred care, however this is sometimes hard to implement.
“What we are working to develop and evaluate is some well-packaged and consistently delivered training, and ways to deliver this care,” he said.
Dr Tony Atkins, from Berwick Healthcare, is a GP who has signed up to be part of the project. He said recovery-orientation was an approach that had been established in specialist circles but hadn’t been translated into primary care.
“We see PULSAR as an opportunity to participate in learning and applying the recovery-orientation mode of helping mental health patients,” Dr Atkins said.
“GPs are at risk of burn out in dealing with mental health patients and what motivates me about engaging in the recovery-orientation model is that I’m hoping it breaths new energy and commitment into the primary health care sector,” Dr Atkins said.
The team will be using materials developed by their research partners in London, UK, and materials they have developed in Australia after preliminary consultations with general practitioners for similar work in the primary care sector.
Participation in the study would involve GPs receiving the PULSAR intervention, which consists of attending either two half-day training sessions, or a half-day training session followed by 12 one hourly meetings or webinars for 12 months.
Each GP will also assist in recruiting 10 of their patients with mental health conditions per year for three years. The training has been accredited by RACGP and ACRRM as a category one activity and is recognised by GPMHSC towards Mental Health Skills Training. Each primary care site will receive a base remuneration of $200 and an additional $25 per patient successfully recruited.
A number of information sessions are happening in November. To find out more or to take part in the project, contact the research team on 03 9902 9695 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at: www.pulsarrecovery.org.au.