Risk Assessment and Management Symposium 2012

Shared Learning In Clinical Practice - 22 March 2012

Risk Assessment and Management Symposium The third in a series of collaborative Risk Assessment and Management Symposiums was held on March 22, 2012 at UniSA's City West Campus. The symposium, jointly hosted by the University of South Australia's Mental Health and Substance Use Research Group and SA Health's "Acute Matters", attracted 133 mental health clinicians, policy makers, service managers, NGO employees and peer support workers from across country and metropolitan South Australia. There were 19 presentations.

A copy of the program can be found here.

The symposium content and structure was driven by an underlying need to know more about dimensions of risk and vulnerability in mental health. It was also designed to create opportunities for professionals to reflect together on their current practices, and to engage in discussion arising from presentations from drug and alcohol services, corrections, migrant and refugee trauma, Indigenous health and in perinatal mental health.

A copy of the Speakers Biographies can be found here.

Two key papers on self-injury and refugee mental health were sent to participants prior to the Symposium. The first paper was by Keynote Speaker Graham Martin on "Self-injury in Australia: a community survey".  The second paper was by Co-convener Professor Nicholas Procter (UniSA) on "Refugee and Asylum Seeker Self Harm with Implications for Transition to Employment Participation - A Review".

The SA Health Newsletter on the Symposium can be found here.

Paula HakesleyThe morning session started with a brief introduction to the day by Ms Julie Murison, Clinical Practice Consultant at Eastern Assessment and Intervention Crisis Service followed by a Welcome and Acknowledgements by Ms Paula Hakesley, Director of the Adelaide Metro Mental Health Directorate.

This progressed to a presentation by Mr Geoff Harris, Executive Director of the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia on the importance of customer service while still maintaining engagement with recovery processes. Mr Harris discussed several different consumer experiences and how these experiences might have been improved.

Robert GoldneyEmeritus Professor Robert Goldney, an internationally recognised suicidologist provided the audience with a presentation on the history of risk assessment and how it is an integral part of comprehensive mental health assessment. 




Graham MartinProfessor Graham Martin from the University of Queensland presented on 'Self Injury rates from the Australian National Epidemiological Study of Self-Injury (ANESSI)' and 'Therapies that can be used to help ease the rates of Self Injury'.

Before morning tea, a film was presented of a Clinical Scenario involving a man in suicidal crisis. The film was scripted, acted and edited jointly by members of the Risk Symposium Planning Team. It was viewed and discussed by audience members and critiqued as an Assessment Interview.


Panel DiscussionFollowing the morning tea break, several clinicians were invited to take part in a panel discussion on the Assessment Interview film. Those involved included Emeritus Professor Robert Goldney, Professor Graham Martin, Ms Lorraine Smitham (Eastern Assessment and Crisis Intervention Services), Mr Geoff Harris, Dr Conrad Newman (Flinders Medical Centre ED and Flinders University Department of Psychiatry), Ms Jenni Beven (Noarlunga Health Service), and Ms Vita Berghout (Exceptional Needs Unit).

Nicholas ProcterProfessor Nicholas Procter chaired this session, asking questions to the panel members regarding how they would respond to the situation in the video. Some of the questions that were asked included what would the clinician do if the client did not want to engage? How assertive do you need to be in the situation and when do you draw the line of being too assertive?


Philip GalleyAfter the first panel, a second panel discussion took place where members of the audience could ask questions to the Clinicians and Ms Charmaine Gallagher (a Consumer and Carer Representative from Eastern Community Mental Health) about their thoughts on the Clinical Scenario. This second panel was facilitated by Mr Philip Galley, the Clinical Mental Health Nursing Director with Country Health SA. Some of the questions asked to the panel from the audience members included: How much can individuals within the systems make a difference? How could we know if there was any consistency in the service provided throughout the state (metro or country)? Is there a lack of awareness by the acute clinicians (ACIS, ED Based, etc) about what they can help people with or who to direct them to? How can we start to implement hope in those early stages? 


Panel 1Panel 2

Panel 3Panel 4


Questions 1Questions 2

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Panayiotis TyllisFinally, a summation of the morning's discussions was presented by Dr Panayiotis Tyllis, South Australia's Chief Psychiatrist, Director, Mental Health Policy. Dr Tyllis thanked Julie Murison for her introduction to the day with the sobering numbers on suicides and how this Symposium was not only about preventing suicide but also about examining the practice and service that is provided. He made the important point that positive and engagement is critical in both risk assessment and during suicidal crisis.

After the lunch break Ms Jennifer Nicholson and Ms Jennifer King, both Advanced Clinical Practice Consultants with Drug and Alcohol Services of South Australia, provided a viewpoint on police custody nursing and suicide risk. The presentation explored the police custody environment, the profile of detainees and how risk is assessed in this situation.

Jennifer KingJennifer Nicholson

The next presentation was by Ms Karen Abraham from Catherine House on how risk assessments are conducted and how the services provided are integrated to support the clients.

After the discussion with Ms Karen Abraham, there was a short break for afternoon tea prior to Dr Nicholas Adams from Eastern Mental Health and Mental Health Triage Service. Dr Adams presented on history, culture and colonisation and how these factors are intimately related to illness, general and mental health problems, social developmental and cultural issues. From there he shared some insights on clinical interviewing and joint care planning when working with Indigenous people.

Mr Tindaro Fallo from Barrett House presented on 'Mental Illness Risk for People of Migrant and Refugee Background'. Mr Fallo explored the various experiences that may affect those who have migrated to a new country and how assessments and interventions may be undertaken.

The final presentation was by Dr Anne Sved Williams, the Director of Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services at the Women's and Children's Hospital on "Managing Risk in Perinatal Mental Health". This presentation mainly explored the experiences of women who were postnatal and their infants. Dr Sved Williams examined the various risks that can arise, which included the risk to the woman (life, family, and legal aspects), the risk to the infant (infanticide, and abuse) and other areas of risk.

After each of the afternoon presentations there were 10 minutes available for the presenters to answer questions from the audience.

Professor Nicholas Procter closed the symposium. His key message was recognition of the importance of wisdom technique and its communication to others as something embedded into the presentations and discussions throughout the day.

Group photo

Group photo of the presenters and organising committee

Selected presentations are available from the organisers and are available if you state the presentation and email the Mental Health Inbox mentalhealth@unisa.edu.au

Gallery of Photos

Networking opportunities were plentiful during the morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks:

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Risk Symposium Planning Team

Andrew Champion, Kate Deuter, Phillip Galley, Andrea Gordon, Tony Halczuk, Adrian Jackson, Annette Jones, Lesley Legg, Julie Murison, Conrad Newman, Nicholas Procter and Penny Williamson.



Areas of study and research

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