Northern Territory Primary Health Network has designed additional training for doctors to address the worryingly high rates of mental illness in the NT.
The NT has the second-highest rate of mental health-related ED visits nationally, but doctors, especially those working remotely, face unique challenges and are often unsupported.
NT PHN chief executive officer Nicki Herriot said equipping frontline staff is the best way to tackle mental illness.
The NT PHN has developed the NT GP Mental Health Skills Package, which will be delivered in Darwin and Alice Springs and aims to upskill the local GP workforce to provide best practice care to patients.
Despite no difference in Katherine's rate of mental illness, doctors will have to travel to access the training.
"Social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide are major problems in the NT," Ms Herriot said.
NT residents experience the second-highest rate of mental health-related ED visits nationally.
"When provided with locally-relevant training and resources, GPs will be better equipped to reduce the high rates of mental illness and suicide in the Northern Territory.
"We identified that skilling up the GP workforce to provide best practice care in a way that was contextually relevant to the NT was an area that required urgent attention."
During a six-month project, the NT PHN mapped out the challenges faced by health professionals on the ground.
It found GPs were well aware of the very high rates of mental illness in the NT, but lacked the support needed to provide the highest quality of care possible.
"The result is the development of a new series of education resources to be rolled out from next month," Ms Herriot said.
"This package is designed to equip all GPs working in the NT with a toolkit of knowledge and skills that allows them to provide timely and safe care in any setting.
"Over time, it is designed to build confidence and breadth of skill for our GP workforce.
"The final element of the education training package will be to identify a group of GPs with a special interest in mental health and suicide prevention, and further develop their skills in this area."
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