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Significant change or relapse

The relapse and re-occurrence of many mental health disorders may cause patients to contact a health professional when they are displaying a significant change in their symptoms or following a significant event(e.g., death, birth, relationship breakdown).  Risk factors, including biological, psychological and environmental/social factors, can impact on how mental health problems are experienced. Communicating with relevant health professionals at times when a significant change has occurred allows for a cooperative and consistent treatment approach to monitor and address the patient’s risk factors thus reducing the likelihood of deteriorating mental health.

Principle 7: Relapse communication coordination

Mental health professionals are alert to changes in patient presentation and circumstances that may increase the risk of deteriorating mental health. They communicate any such changes to the referrer and any other relevant health professionals as a matter of course rather than waiting for established referral requirements (e.g., sixth session or at termination if under Better Access). When considering the time frame for communication, the interests of the patient are paramount.


Practice guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals