Interdisciplinary collaboration: a guide to success!

Mrs Helen Lowy1
1Department Of Health And Human Services, Melbourne, Australia

One of the most common challenges in mental health care is reconciling the autonomy of the consumer with the need to promote a safe environment. To respond to this challenge, chief psychiatrist guidelines have been produced, through interdisciplinary collaboration, which capture relevant legislation, standards and best evidence based practice. These guidelines are designed to inform policy development in the mental health sector around consumer empowerment within a safe workplace. Evidence suggests that patient-centred, recovery focused, interdisciplinary collaboration across the bio-psycho-socio-cultural-spiritual model of care delivers best mental health outcomes.

The current presentation illustrates how all of these factors are integrated to produce guidelines for:
– Electronic communication in mental health care
– Surveillance and privacy in mental health care

The literature suggests that when human rights are promoted and protected within mental health care units, the need for seclusion and restraint is reduced and recovery is enhanced.


Helen qualified as pharmacist in the UK. Specialising in paediatrics, Helen was awarded a Master of Philosophy Degree for research into Adverse Drug Reactions in Children.

As director of Women’s and Children’s Pharmacy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the largest teaching hospital in the world, Helen co-authored the Leeds Neonatal Formulary and established an exchange with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

Helen emigrated to Australia in 2001. Specialising in change management in Quality Use of medicines, Helen coordinated the statewide implementation of the National Inpatient Medication Chart and other innovative practices.

Helen holds qualifications in Pharmacy, Counselling, Health Service Management, Project Management and Change Management.

Helen currently works as a Program Manager in Medicines and Mental Health and Wellbeing within the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist at the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, Australia.


TERP focuses on identifying, avoiding and reducing harm across all environments in which the care of people with mental ill health is provided. TERP inforces Australia’s commitment to reduce the use of, and eliminate restrictive practices as a priority for action. Each jurisdiction, in conjunction with the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee and the Commonwealth Government, works towards this vision by holding a series of forums providing an opportunity to learn and grow from local and national initiatives to eliminate restrictive practices and create a dialogue for future care.

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