mental health nurse

Lisa Pirata is a Mental Health Nursing Care Coordinator at Care Connected and has worked on the as a registered nurse within Community Health, Mental Health and Education  for over 15 years.

Lisa believes “mental health is embedded in everything”, she’s excited about her role at Care Connected and working to reduce the stigma of mental health by helping to create an environment where mental health is openly and transparently discussed within the community.

She has a wealth of experience in mental health support. Lisa started her healthcare career in nursing, completing her post graduate qualification in community health, her Masters degree in Nursing with a specialty in Education and further studies in psychology and research methodologies.  Lisa commenced her career in South Western Sydney region, moving into community health and then working within telehealth travelling around Australia educating Registered Nurses.  Her masters degree then saw her lecturing at prominent universities and conducting further research within mental health.  Lisa has worked within private and public sectors leading teams working with children, adults and older persons.

Lisa spent some time with Michael Marthick, Care Connected’s Managing Director to discuss how she got into mental health, the importance of digital health for people with mental illness and mental health in the current climate.

Michael: How did you get into mental health care?

Lisa: The answer could take a while! When I started nursing, I completed my new graduate program with Liverpool Hospital and South Western Sydney health district.  I worked within the Emergency department and loved the mental health speciality.  My request each shift was to be assigned to the mental health sub acute area.  I completed my post graduate qualification in community health and was working with children and their families focusing on primary and mental health development.  As a lecturer, I loved teaching mental health and primary health units and it was an obvious choice when my research involved mental health concepts.  I believe mental health is embedded in everything.  I have had the opportunity to work in emergency and community settings together with child & family health and older persons environments and every leads to mental health.   It is an interested and complex area to work within and I enjoy every minute.

Michael: Did you enjoy that education component?

Lisa: I did, I did. My career prior to nursing was with events management so I was able to bring my experience in coordination and organisation with me. Teaching allows you to be creative, to reach various learning styles to achieve engagement so that was a strength I brought with me to the field.  The more engaging the education, the easier it is to achieve participation and engagement.  I loved being able to be a part of the process to mould the eager minds of tomorrow’s registered nurses.  I enjoyed teaching communication, leadership, and mental health.

Michael: Where do you think things are at with the state of mental health care in Australia at the moment?

Lisa: When I did started my undergraduate degree I saw mental health as two dimensional, but when you start practicing nursing and you bring along the knowledge and experience that you develop, you see that mental health is embedded in everything.  Every presentation, admission, illness or health contact has an element of mental health within.  It may be a causative factors or the outcome but either way mental health is, or becomes, a component.  That component has a huge ramification on health services.   Time has shown that all health care priority areas have a mental health component to them.  Health care today, during and post pandemic, will lean heavily on mental health needs and the future of healthcare will need to address this.

Our tertiary education institutions are extremely important in the support and development of mental health.  As our country, and the world, change during pandemics and environmental disasters, we need education to underpin mental health services.

Michael: What do you think some of the biggest gaps are in mental healthcare at the moment?

Lisa:  People are openly discussing their mental health more so than ever before which is a wonderful thing.  The “Me Too” Movement, Women Against Domestic Violence, zero tolerance, and more recently, fires, pandemics and isolation, have encouraged waves of discussion which is resulting in people talking about their mental health.  Historically mental health was often not discussed but with the events of recent times, it has changed the publics thoughts about mental health and whether or not it should be talked about.  It is wonderful that the public is speaking more openly about how they are doing and how they are coping.  With campaigns such as “Are you ok” day, it makes it easier to ask and listen to someone who may not feel they can talk about how they are feeling and coping.   There are definitely gaps within mental health but I prefer to think about mental health being embedded in everything and therefore our service gaps should identify a need for a “mental health” factor in everything.  Work, health, family, environment, financial, social, for children, adolescents, adults and older persons, every one and every thing should have a mental health support level embedded in it to attend to the primary health needs of individuals before an issue grows and becomes a secondary health issue with comorbidities.   Mental health primary support is needed in every thing and everywhere.  Not just in hospitals but where the consumer is.  Anywhere the consumer needs it, at their finger tips.

Michael: Flexible and supportive healthcare is a big philosophy of Care Connected and how we approach healthcare. You’ve been with our nursing care coordination team for a little while now. What do you see as your role at Care Connected?

Lisa:  To deliver the vision and strategy of Care Connected to individuals.  Deliver supportive mental health support and services to all consumers, in their home, or wherever they may be, when they need it.

Michael: What are you looking forward to in the future of mental health?

Lisa: I’m excited about taking the stigma away from mental health. Saying “I’m going to my mental health appointment today” and having people feel that it is very normal.  I am looking forward to the development of mental health strategy over the next 10 years and seeing a platform in every area for mental health support.  Having mental health recognised as a component in every framework.

Michael: Do you think digital health has a role to play in that?

Lisa: Yes, most definitely.  Mental health should be available to consumers where and when they need it.  If a consumer needs to schedule a trip to the Emergency Department to discuss mental health needs, we will be missing the primary health prevention opportunity for many people.  Choice is an important element of health care and allowing people to choose where and when they seek health care is important.  Wherever the consumer is comfortable seeking mental health assistance is important.  Organisations making assistance available is very important.  If we make getting assistance easy and accessible, people can reach out and get the assistance they need.

To learn more about our mental health recovery programs, get in touch with us today at info@careconnected.com.au

Crisis Support: If you are at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others please call 000. Other services include Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467).