WRAD has hosted a successful workshop that got to the `nuts and bolts’ of supporting people with psychiatric conditions. The training opportunity on August 7-8 helped to improve the skills and confidence of anyone working with vulnerable clients.

Twenty nine people attended – from Warrnambool, Colac, Cobden, Timboon, Camperdown, Portland and Melbourne. Organisations represented included Caraniche AOD Services Melbourne, Brophy Family and Youth Services, Catholic Education Office, Warrnambool City Council, Salvation Army, Colac Area Health, Deakin University, Karingal, Glenelg Southern Grampians Drug Treatment Service, Cobden Technical School, Moyne Health, South West Healthcare, and Cooinda.

Roles included psychologists, parenting and children’s services practitioners, AOD clinicians, Indigenous workers, nurses, teachers, disability services workers and social workers.

Psychiatrist Dr Basil Buntting presented the training which will help practitioners to easily and quickly assess and manage psychiatric conditions and gain insight into what is behind client behaviours.

WRAD's Daryl Fitzgibbon and Angela Alexander with Dr Buntting

WRAD’s Daryl Fitzgibbon and Angela Alexander with Dr Buntting

Dr Buntting is a consultant psychiatrist who has worked as Assistant Professor and teaching fellow at Bond University in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine. He has also taught medical students from others schools of and developed “Nuts and Bolts of Psychiatry” workshops and online training.

He has written the textbooks “Psychiatry in easy steps” and “Nuts and Bolts of Psychiatry” and has taught mental health workers including general medical practitioners, mental health nurses and allied mental health workers such as psychologists, counsellors, social workers, occupational therapists, workers in drug and alcohol services, workers in disability services, and other mental health related services in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Dr Buntting earned his medical degree from the University of Natal, South Africa, before embarking on a solo general medical practice in Nigel near Johannesburg. After six years as a GP, he specialised in psychiatry and gained a Master of Medicine degree (Psychiatry) at the Natal University. Through the same university he gained the research degree, Doctor of Medicine.

WRAD Improved Services Coordinator Angela Alexander said the workshop aimed to improve skills in the assessment of mental illness, including categories of psychosis, mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders and somatoform conditions. A variety of teaching methods were utilised to better recognise both the verbal and non-verbal signs and symptoms and it gave participants the opportunity to interact and collaborate more effectively.

Ms Alexander said the training was relevant to a broad range of professionals at any level who are involved in delivering services to complex and vulnerable clients.