Supporting GPs to manage the care of mental health consumers

In News by Jodie McHarry

GPs across the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast regions have access to specialist support to assist them in managing the care of mental health consumers.  

The GP Psychiatry Support Line is a free service to GPs and is not a triage or referral service, nor an emergency service, but rather a service that aims to keep consumers, whose conditions are able to be treated within primary care, under the care of their GP.  

GPs are integral to the success of caring effectively for those with mental health needs and this service aims to provide GPs with the ability to support patients in primary care longer, reducing the likelihood of unnecessary wait times and costly escalation for patients to more intensive psychological services. 

The support line, operated by Prostate Survival Alliance Inc (ProCare Mental Health Services), allows GPs to speak directly with a qualified psychiatrist about the mental health needs of their patients, including information to assist with diagnosis, investigation, medication and treatment plans. 

Feedback from GPs who have accessed the support line have indicated that it is an extremely valuable service providing timely advice in an area of medicine which for GPs is becoming increasingly complex, demanding and under-supported.  

Prof. Michael Breakspear, a consulting psychiatrist who contributes to the GP Psychiatry Support Line, believes the helpline provides a vital, clinical service to primary practice, improving the quality and efficiency of mental health care in primary care. 

“Drawing on my clinical experience as a psychiatrist in the private and public sectors, the information I am able to give directly to the GP is frequently as relevant as that I am able to provide after an in-person review, saving time through the GP’s knowledge of the patient”, he said. 

“Based on my experience working with the support line, it is my opinion that the benefits to GPs, their patients and the mental health system as a whole cannot be overstated.”   

Amanda Westaway, Coordinator Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs from CCQ said “GPs can easily register online at or call 1800 16 17 18 to complete the registration process. Once registered, bookings can be made online,” 

The GP Psychiatry support line is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm to all GPs working across the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast region. 

To access the GP Psychiatry Support Line, GPs can phone 1800 16 17 18. Further information on this specialist support service can be found on the website: