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ED alternative: trial underway

17 Apr 2019

Redland Hospital is the trial site for a new program offering support to people experiencing a mental health crisis.


Co-designed with the community, people who access mental health services, families and clinicians, the program has two components.

Key components

The first is the Living EDge room at Redland Hospital is a peer-hosted space that serves as an alternative waiting room to the emergency department (ED), or as a space where people can self-manage and avoid needing to go to the emergency department altogther.

The second component is Living EDge in the Community, which assists people in suicidal distress. Supported by peers, people can access help such as weekly group support, a self-management kit and access to individually tailored activities such as running groups, art classes, yoga and other activities.

Living EDge consortium

The Living EDge consortium, which includes Enlightened Consultants (Helen Glover), Brook RED (Eschleigh Balzamo) and Laura Cox (researcher), worked with people with a lived experience as well as the local service providers to get the program up and running.

Innovative alternative

Helen Glover from Enlightened Consultants is the design lead for the trial, and says the innovative program is an important step forward in the management of mental health issues.

“Traditionally, all roads have led to the ED, especially for people experiencing suicide or mental distress,” she said.

“Living EDge is designed to be an alternative support for people with a mental health crisis.

Learning through shared experience

"Here, through peer support and talking to someone with a shared experience, people can learn to self-manage their stress without bouncing back to ED all the time.”

A critical element of the program is helping people to learn to self-manage their distress, as opposed to removing it altogether.

A catalyst for change

“Valuing that your crisis experience will be valuable to you is at the heart of this program,” Helen said.

“With Living EDge, you have peers to experience it with you, all of whom have been through a similar experience. Crisis can be a strong catalyst for change. It’s sometimes more about sitting with the life distress we experience, in order to learn from it.”

Trial term

Living EDge has collaborated closely with the Redland Hospital and Bayside Mental Health to implement the innovative trial, which will run until the end of September.

The Commission was involved in the processes to develop the design of the model of service.