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Services Supporting Mental Health Care in Emergency Departments

This document is a summarised version of Emergency Department DG-CC4, Provision of Mental Health Care in Western Health Footscray and Sunshine Emergency Departments. The summary has been created to be Emergency Department specific, and has been endorsed by the ED Leadership Team. Staff should review the full document if they require further information. Alternatively, additional information contained within this PPG has been summarised in the QRG: Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs (MHAOD) Care In Emergency Departments.


This guideline details the specialised services that support effective and safe mental health patient care across Footscray Hospital and Sunshine Hospital Emergency Departments.


This QRG is applicable to all staff working in SHED.


It is the responsibility of the Nurse Unit Managers and Directors of the Emergency Departments of each site to ensure the relevant staff are familiar with this QRG and associated PPGs.

Guideline/Process Details

Specialised Mental Health Teams

These services are provided under the clinical governance and direction of WH’s partner mental health services in close working relationship with WH ED leadership.

  • Emergency Mental Health (EMH) provides mental health care in Sunshine Hospital ED.
  • Emergency Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (ECATT) provides mental health care in Footscray Hospital ED.

Mental Health Services in EDs

Services supporting mental health care in Footscray Hospital and Sunshine Hospital Emergency Departments include:

  • Assessment;
  • Pharmacotherapy consultation;
  • Engaging with patients and providing therapeutic crisis interventions;
  • Specialist mental health staff interventions; and
  • Onward referral to Area Mental Health or community service provider, as appropriate.

Please refer to Supporting Documents for more information:

Referral Process

Referrals to EMH/ECATT can be made face-to-face or by phone.

  • Phone 8345 7257 for ECATT
  • Phone 8345 0443 or 8345 1248 for EMH

When considering referrals, note that patients with mental health care needs should be assessed for co-existing substance use.

Consider a referral to the Addiction Medicine Consultation and Liaison Service or to the Emergency Department AOD workers

Similarly, all patients should be assessed for Nicotine Withdrawal and referral to ED AOD Services

Please refer to Supporting Documents for more information on referrals to ED AOD Services:


All contacts with patients with mental health needs by all clinicians are to be recorded in EDIS. In addition, nurses record contacts on the nursing bedside chart.

EMH/ECATT clinicians will complete comprehensive mental health assessment, risk assessment, ISBAR and other clinical assessments and documents in accordance with mental health service requirements.

Mental Health documentation will be in accordance with the Mental Health Act 2014 (VIC).

Supporting Documents

Policy, Procedure and Guidelines (PPGs)


Document Governance

Title: Services Supporting Mental Health Care in Emergency Departments
Version: 2.0
Date Published: May 2022
Date of scheduled review: May 2023
Author: Approver:
ED Leadership Team ED Leadership Team


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