Practitioners embrace unique opportunity to improve cardiac patients’ recovery

Jacqui O'Loughlin headshot
Jacqui O’Loughlin/National Networks Program Team Leader
2 mins read·January 29th, 2015

Practitioners from a range of disciplines who provide care to cardiac patients in Victoria have established a network that provides a forum to explore the many and varied issues in psycho-cardiology.

The network affords a unique opportunity to introduce a mental health perspective to clinicians who predominantly focus on physical health issues, and vice versa.

Significant interest from a diverse group of practitioners

Initial interest has been high, with over 100 practitioners indicating a desire to participate in the network. The first meeting, held in November, attracted 50 attendees, including psychologists, researchers, nurses, doctors, counsellors, peer workers, GPs, pharmacists, physiotherapists and social workers.

The overarching theme for the night, Issues in Psycho-Cardiology saw the meeting addressed by leading clinicians and researchers who provided information on:

  • Depression and the heart – mechanisms of cardiac risk Associate Professor David Barton, Consultant Psychiatrist, Ballarat Health Services.
  • The Cardiac Blues, Dr Barbara Murphy, Director of Research, Heart Research Centre.
  • Anxiety: The Thinking Heart, Dr Marlies Alvarenga, Cardiac Clinical Psychologist, MonashHeart.
  • General Practice, Cardiology and Mental Health Services: Bridging the Divide, Ms Freyja Millar, Mental Health Nurse & Diabetes Educator, Eastern Health.

Appetites were whet for future meetings

“It is very encouraging that such a large number of practitioners see the value in joining the network to explore opportunities to better support cardiac patients,” said the network’s co-ordinator Dr Rosemary Higgins.
“The network will provide an ongoing opportunity for practitioners in the region to network and learn from each other, as well as provide a forum for the latest research and tools to be highlighted and discussed.”

Opportunities to get involved

Provide your details, if you are in Melbourne and would like to be invited to attend the next meeting.

Network highlights potential for collaborations between chronic disease peak organisations and MHPN

The network is the result of a collaboration between a number of organisations, including the Heart Research Centre and MHPN.

The success of this network, and a number of others that focus on chronic disease and mental health, highlight the potential for MHPN to partner with peak chronic disease organisations to establish practitioner networks that engage both chronic disease and mental health specialists.

Current partnerships with Pain Australia, Diabetes Australia, amongst others have resulted in the establishment of several networks where chronic disease and mental health practitioners regularly meet to share experiences, learnings and explore how to work together more effectively to better support consumers.

For more information on these partnerships, or to discuss a potential opportunity for MHPN to partner with your organisation, please contact MHPN at networks@mhpn.org.au

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