DNI Linking up through global friendships


As a specialist in an industry full of specialists, the Consultation Liaison Mental Health professional will necessarily be social, but Prof. Dr. Soerojo Magelang Hospital’s Dr. Santi Yuliani has been networking globally for best practices in liaison mental health.  Through regular exchanges of ideas with Malaysian colleagues, Santi learnt of Melbourne’s POST program and collaborated on a professional development placement with St. Vincent’s Consultation Liaison team this July.

Consultation Liaison (or CL) specialises in the interface between general medicine and psychiatry, reflecting the close links between mental and physical health. Traditionally, barriers such as separate funding mechanisms and wide ranging stigma can prevent an integrated approach to treating physical and mental illness, but CL has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce costs of medical care. The proposed leadership and specialist skill training program was identified as significant and aligning with Indonesian’s mental health strategies.

Initial discussions on the potential collaboration between St. Vincent’s Mental Health and Prof. Dr. Soerojo Magelang Hospital led to expansion with Dr. Santi’s colleagues Dr. Sutantri and Dr. Anita Budijanto also agreeing to be part of the challenge of an international exchange.  Working with the 3 psychiatrists, the POST program designed a 4 week program with the support of St. George’s Aged Mental HealthSunshine: Aged Mental Health, The Melbourne Clinic, Orygen and St. Vincent’s Hospital.

And the results?

Whilst a very different setting to the hospital in Indonesia, peer exchanges found many shared areas of interest.  In CL, Santi noted that the team approach was favoured, including registrars and mental health nurses in the team rather than working as sole practitioners.  The multidisciplinary meetings are suitable to be implemented in CL, because of the need to involve a holistic approach for effective patient management.

Dr. Anita explored the development of community teams which visit people in their homes and residential services.  Also relevant to the Indonesia context was the use of different interventions with people with behavioural disturbance, other than medication, such as sensory stimulation.  Currently, sensory modulation treatments are available for children and adolescents, but Dr. Anita is keen to return to the workplace with plans to increase access to older people who may benefit.  Similarly, developing the model of care to include community outreach is an area to explore within current resources.

Dr. Sutantri’s experiences with the psychiatrists in Melbourne has led her to reconsider the patient experience within the Outpatients’ Department, and upon return, she is hoping to secure a room that is private and promotes confidentiality, with suitability for psychotherapy.  She will also explore the potential for sharing ideas with colleagues- to support each other and have regular meetings.

Prof. Dr. Soerojo Magelang Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital are keen to continue their collaboration, and hope to establish sisterhood agreements with ongoing shared visits between the services.

Whilst braving the workplace in the heart of the Melbourne winter, the intrepid travelers also managed to do some sight seeing in the city, including the Federation Square, Yarra River and the little Penguins. The Victoria Market every Saturday was a must for preparing their cooking adventures, and everyone reported thoroughly enjoying the trams and the orderly footpaths for pedestrians.

For more information about the POST program or our work, please contact Asia Australia Mental Health.