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Change in mental health collaborative care attitudes and practice in Australia: Impact of participation in MHPN network meetings

Barbara Murphy (Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia) (Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Bundoora, Australia) (School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
Chris Gibbs (Mental Health Professionals Network, Melbourne, Australia)
Kate Hoppe (Mental Health Professionals Network, Melbourne, Australia)
Deepika Ratnaike (DSR Consulting Group, Sydney, Australia)
Harry Lovelock (Mental Health Professionals Network, Melbourne, Australia) (Australian Psychological Society, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 29 December 2017

Issue publication date: 7 February 2018




The Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) was established to support and enhance collaborative care among health professionals working in primary mental healthcare. The MHPN has two primary arms: face-to-face network meetings and online webinars. The purpose of this paper is to investigate attitudinal and practice changes amongst health professionals after participation in MHPN’s network meetings.


In April 2016, an online survey was e-mailed to health professionals who had attended at least one network meeting during 2015. The survey asked about practice changes across seven key areas relating to increased awareness of and interaction with professionals from other disciplines. Interdisciplinary differences were investigated using the χ2 statistic (p<0.05).


A total of 1,375 health professionals participated in the survey. For each of the seven practice changes investigated, between 74 and 92 per cent of respondents had made the change. Those who attended more network meetings were significantly more likely to have made changes. General practitioners were significantly more likely than other professionals to have made changes.

Research limitations/implications

Attendance at MHPN network meetings has a positive impact on health professionals’ attitudes and practices towards a more collaborative approach to mental healthcare.


MHPN is a unique, national platform successfully delivering opportunities for interdisciplinary professional development in the primary mental health sector. The model is unique, cost-effective, practitioner driven and transferable to other settings.



The MHPN initiative is funded by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health. The authors gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of the MHPN Chair Mr John McGrath AM, the MHPN Board, the member (APS, RACGP, RANZCP and ACMHN) and partner (the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA), and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)) organisations, and current and past MHPN staff members. The authors would also like to acknowledgement the MHPN Evaluation Committee members. The appreciation of authors is also for the many health professionals who provided valuable feedback by completing the survey.


Murphy, B., Gibbs, C., Hoppe, K., Ratnaike, D. and Lovelock, H. (2018), "Change in mental health collaborative care attitudes and practice in Australia: Impact of participation in MHPN network meetings", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 29-37.



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