Victorian mental health Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) services are sub-acute mental health services operating in community settings. PARC services treat people experiencing a severe and acute mental health episode, providing a mix of clinical and psychosocial support. They are short-term, residential treatment services with a recovery focus. PARC services supplement crisis intervention in Victoria and community-based ambulatory clinical care, with the aim of enabling better overall access to mental health services and stronger continuum of care for consumers. 

There are a number of PARC service models. These are Adult PARC services which include a Women’s and an Extended Stay, and Youth PARC services (for consumers aged between 16 and 25). PARC services seek to provide an average length of stay between seven and 14 days, with a maximum stay of 28 days. This exception to this is the Extended PARC service where the expected stay is up to six months.

The aims of PARC services are to:

  • improve mental health outcomes of people with a severe mental illness, who become acutely unwell
  • prevent avoidable admissions to acute units and avoidable re-admissions following an acute episode.

Objectives 

This report analyses state mental health service data from 2009 to 2014 to evaluate whether PARC services are meeting their aims and objectives. This research also seeks an understanding of PARC services’ roles in relation to hospital-based acute inpatient mental health care services and Community Care Units (CCUs).

The objectives of this research were to:
  • describe PARC services in terms of their availability, clientele and context for access, health outcomes and care pathways
  • compare PARC services to hospital-based acute inpatient mental health services and CCUs by consumer demographics, service delivery and outcomes
  • assess whether PARC services are providing better access to mental health services in Victoria.