Project to improve MHERL and Rurallink

East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) is embarking on a major project to improve the Mental Health Emergency Response Line and Rurallink Service (collectively referred to as MHERL).

The MHERL Review Project has been established following an Independent Evaluation of MHERL and Rurallink (external link) that was commissioned in 2019.

Recommendations arising from the evaluation will be implemented as part of the project and will help strengthen MHERL's role as a contemporary State-wide mental health crisis telephone line.

The MHERL Review Project will also engage and partner with consumers and carers on the service redesign, governance and evaluation.


The MHERL Review Project follows the Independent Evaluation of MHERL and Rurallink (external link) which was commissioned by the Mental Health Commission to determine whether the service was achieving the objectives that led to its formation and to recommend a contemporary model of care for the service.

The subsequent report identified four key themes and made 22 findings relating to these.

Eight overarching recommendations that arose from the evaluation were based on these findings. Changes to MHERL will be undertaken in close consultation and partnership with consumers.

New Flyers

MHERL and Rurallink have new flyers! These are printable PDF files which you can save to your phone or print out. You are encouraged to save or print a copy.


Consumer and Carer Engagement

The MHERL Review project completed recruitment of consumers and carers in late October 2021. As a result, five consumers and carers have started as representatives and will sit on the MHERL Review Project Control Group and attend MHERL Service Business Meetings.

All have now had an orientation to the MHERL service and the project and attended their first meetings. MHERL staff have commented on how valuable it is to have people with lived experience attending and working with them to make improvements.

Engagement of Community Mental Health

The MHERL Team and Project Officer ran a series of workshops with metropolitan community mental health services between July and October 2021. The purpose of these sessions was to build relationships between services and identify potential improvements. The sessions have led to several small improvements and a better shared understanding between services which has increased willingness to work together.

A document has been developed to help clarify crisis response and clinical handover processes between MHERL and community mental health services and outline the roles and responsibilities of each service. The document is currently with the services for comment.

Innovation workshop

The community mental health service engagement sessions helped to prepare staff to attend an Innovation Workshop, run by the East Metropolitan Health Service Innovation Team on the 4th November 2021. The workshop was attended by 40 participants including consumers and carers representatives from MHERL and staff from metropolitan Community Mental Health, the Mental Health Commission, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and WA Country Health Service.

The workshop aimed to identify ways MHERL and community mental health services could work in a more integrated way to provide a timely crisis response. The workshop generated more than 200 ideas and suggestions which are being worked through to explore how they could be implemented.

There was consensus among attendees that services needed to work consistently, use standardised ways of working, communicating and collaborating to ensure high-quality and responsive care in a mental health crisis.

  • In December 2021 the project officer and MHERL staff are going to commence virtual engagement sessions with WA Country Health staff in the regions.
  • A workshop is planned for mid-December 2021 with consumers and carers to develop consumer feedback mechanisms for MHERL. If you have expressed interest in participating in a workshop, we may contact you to be involved.
  • Further workshops are planned for 2022. We will update you on these in the new year, after we have all had a well-earned Christmas break.

Have a chance to make your mark on MHERL and Rurallink

If you have lived experience of the Mental Health Emergency Response Line or Rurallink, you are invited to be part of the MHERL Review Project.

Your experience of using MHERL will help ensure this important service meets the needs of the consumers for whom it is intended.

Whether your experience is as a consumer, family member, carer or friend, the East Metropolitan Health Service would welcome your input. Compensation will be paid for your time to attend project commitments.

As partners in the project, consumers will:

  • be actively involved in decision-making about the service
  • help define a model of care for the MHERL service
  • provide feedback on how the service meets their needs now and in the future.

People who access MHERL come from a diverse range of backgrounds so we will try to ensure that an equally wide range of perspectives and experiences is captured among the consumer representatives. We are seeking people of varying ages and from both metropolitan and regional WA.

We also hope to attract people:

  • who identify as Aboriginal
  • are from CALD communities
  • are sexual, gender or bodily diverse (LGBTiQ+)
  • who live with a disability
  • are from a range of ages including youth and older adults.

You can get involved by:

Register your interest in attending a service design workshop.

Workshop participants will attend one-off service design workshops on a range of topics where they will contribute to defining how care is delivered by MHERL and Rurallink.

Last Updated: 12/04/2022