Key messages

  • Mental illness is prevalent among people with acquired brain injury and must be taken into consideration by services dealing with these consumers.
  • People with an acquired brain injury and a mental illness are entitled to treatment from all relevant services.

Mental illness is more common among people with acquired brain injury and may require a specialist service response.

Responding to people with acquired brain injury and mental illness

Area mental health services

Area mental health services must provide clear, relevant information and advice to people with acquired brain injury, their carers and services requesting assistance.

People who have a co-existing serious mental illness (such as psychosis or a severe mood disorder) have the same right to access area mental health services as others with serious mental illness.

Acute community intervention service

People with an acquired brain injury should be able to access all components of mental health services, including an acute community intervention service response.

They should not be refused access to a service because of their acquired brain injury.

Acute community intervention services provide a unified and individual approach to meet the needs of a person experiencing an acute mental illness.

Acute community intervention services are provided by specialist public mental health services in response to urgent assistance (assessment and short-term treatment) from members of the public, police, ambulance, general practitioners, service providers and others.

Responses may be provided by a community team or through a broader integrated care approach delivered across a number of settings via a range of clinicians working together.

Acute community intervention services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mental health telephone triage is generally the first point of contact for people seeking a specialist mental health response. All area mental health services have their own triage numbers.

Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuropsychiatry Unit

Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuropsychiatry Unit provides specialist advice and support to area mental health services for people with an acquired brain injury.