Mental health service helping people who have had a suicide attempt find a Way Back

Media Release

People who have attempted suicide in the Great South Coast are now being helped and supported on the Way Back to good health thanks to The Way Back Support Service.

Initially announced in September 2020, The Way Back Support Service is being delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, Beyond Blue, Wellways, South West Healthcare and Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN).

The service aims to:

  • Improve access to high-quality aftercare to support at risk individuals to stay safe;
  • Build capacity of individuals to self-manage distress and improve mental wellbeing;
  • Improve links with clinical and community-based services to meet individual needs and circumstances;
  • Increase social connectedness and links to supportive networks (families, friends, peers and carers); and
  • Improve the capacity and capability of The Way Back workforce to support at risk individuals.

WVPHN CEO Rowena Clift said Wellways and South West Healthcare have ensured that the service has been a success thus far.

“Our collaboration with delivery partners Wellways and South West Healthcare is ensuring services are working together cohesively as part of WVPHN’s regional planning to improve mental health care,” Ms Clift said.

“It is pleasing to see people accessing The Way Back Support Service and achieving positive outcomes in the Great South Coast Community,” Ms Clift said. “We need to continue to reach out and connect with these people to ensure those who need appropriate care receive it in a timely and appropriate way.”

Referrals to The Way Back are made by hospital or community mental health staff, as well as staff from the emergency departments at South West Healthcare (Warrnambool), Western District Health Services (Hamilton) and mental health staff located in Warrnambool, Hamilton, Portland and Camperdown.

The Way Back clinical coordinator based at South West Healthcare determines the individual’s eligibility for the service and actions the referral to Wellways (support coordinators) who will provide the actual service for that client.

To date, all referrals into the program have been made via community mental health services such as those available through South West Healthcare, with more referrals from other areas expected as the service establishes itself within the local community.

Ms Clift said that working towards integrated and collaborative services across all health care sectors will ensure a supported system of care for the community.

“Regional collaboration with our major hospitals and other committed stakeholders is crucial in the establishment of the foundations and structure to support the coordinated implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations across our region,” Ms Clift said. “The Way Back Support Service is an excellent example of a successful integrated service.”

Alastair Stott, Chief Services Officer at Beyond Blue said: “The Way Back supports and guides people in the three months following their release from hospital after a suicide attempt and is designed to complement clinical interventions such as psychologists, psychiatrists and medical professionals. The service helps people manage issues including engaging financial or relationship advisers or making it easier to attend healthcare appointments. Beyond Blue is proud to collaborate with Wellways, South West Healthcare and Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) to provide this vital service to people on the Great South Coast.”

Laura Collister, Wellways CEO said: “The assistance provided to participants in the Great South Coast has been varied and tailored to individual needs, there is no one size fits all. Our staff are skilled in providing what is needed for the unique life situations and challenges experienced by the people we work with. It is vital that community based, personalised and practical support such as The Way Back Support Service is provided alongside clinical services to reduce distress and assist individuals to address their needs and support their safety.”

Richard Campion, South West Healthcare Mental Health Services Executive Director said: “South West Healthcare is proud to partner with the provider of The Way Back Support Service in South West Victoria, Wellways. The Way Back Support Service is a valued part of services provided to individuals and families following a suicide attempt. In the South West, The Way Back is truly integrated into our mental health services and our clinicians work closely with The Way Back to support our local community. We’re excited to participate in the formal The Way Back launch and look forward to working closely with The Way Back into the future.’

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency department or use any of these helplines: