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Primary health organisations (PHOs) and primary care teams are the first point of contact for many people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. They also play an important role for people who have been discharged from mental health services.
Primary care services can intervene early and prevent problems becoming worse by helping people manage their own mental wellbeing. For example, GPs and nurses can provide brief interventions for people with tobacco smoking, alcohol and other drug problems, and access to self-help programmes for common mental health issues. They can also provide information about community based support, including through Green Prescription.
PHOs are funded to deliver free or subsidised services, which may include psychological therapy, to people with mild to moderate mental health and addiction issues who live in higher deprivation areas. The people delivering these services may include practice nurses who have a special interest and training in this area, mental health nurses working in primary care, mental health coordinators, psychologists, psychiatrists, and GPs.