Mitsubishi Development entering into an extended partnership with Wesley Research Institute to support rural and remote mental health

Mitsubishi Development (MDP) has entered a new two-year AU$800,000 partnership with Wesley Research Institute (WRI) to provide Isaac Navicare program mental health services to communities located in the Bowen Basin. This partnership will ensure that Dysart and Moranbah residents continue to have local access to two Isaac Navicare mental health navigators under the program.

MDP Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Tauchi said the success of the innovative and unique Isaac Navicare program was exceeding the company’s expectations and meeting an ever-growing need in these communities.

“We are immensely proud that following the successful pilot of Navicare, the new model of care for community health, we can now extend our support and continue to fund two mental health navigators servicing the needs of the Moranbah and Dysart communities,” said Mr Tauchi.

“This initiative, which operates alongside other programs we fund and support through our joint ownership of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), such as the BMA Community Resilience Project, is making a measurable difference to the lives of people who live in our host communities,” he said.

“The Isaac Navicare program is filling an existing and urgent gap for mental health support in the Bowen Basin, and it is reassuring to know that our ongoing funding will play a small part in helping residents of these communities better access the mental health supports they need, when they need them,” said Mr Tauchi.

Wesley Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Andrew Barron said Mitsubishi Development is the founding partner of Navicare and without the company’s funding, this important mental health project would not have been realised.

“Since commencing the service, Isaac Navicare has reached full capacity. Mitsubishi Development’s funding of the research which led to the development and pilot of the new model of care, has been instrumental in the success of the Isaac Navicare service,” said Mr Barron.

“The professionalism and expertise of our two mental health navigators has enabled Navicare to become a trusted face in the community, making some people’s first outreach for help a little easier,” he said.

“There is a strong commitment from the community, service providers, the Isaac Regional Council and local businesses in the Bowen Basin region to improve the mental health of the community.

“Mitsubishi Development has a vested interest in the health of the Bowen Basin rural community, and we are grateful to have their support, not just for the Navicare program, but since our inception from 1994,” said Mr Barron.

“It’s through corporate partnerships like this we can continue to develop robust research which leads to positive social impact,’ he said.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor, Cr Anne Baker, said that since the Isaac Navicare program started servicing Bowen Basin communities in late 2021, Council has been closely monitoring its progress in delivering better health outcomes for the Isaac region.

“Council congratulates Mitsubishi Development and Wesley Research Institute on their partnership and their continued commitment to deliver this innovative mental health service to the Isaac region,” said Cr Baker.

“The demand for mental health support in regional and rural communities is growing at a rapid pace, and Council is grateful for the vital service the Isaac Navicare program is providing, and grateful to Mitsubishi Development and Wesley Research Institute for scaling up the Navicare program following its successful pilot.

“Navicare’s two mental health navigators provide timely, accessible and appropriate mental health support to people in need, and the positive impact they are having on improving mental health outcomes within the Isaac region is being felt by many people in our community,” she said.

“Council has long advocated for better health outcomes for our region, and it is pleasing to see Mitsubishi Development and Wesley Research Institute actively answering our call,” said Cr Baker.

The Navicare program has also enabled further research through ‘The Bridging Study’, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Project (ID2018981) announced in December 2022.  This study, led by Queensland University of Technology with Wesley Research Institute as an official partner, will look to expand Navicare services into three additional Bowen Basin communities.  The project is also partnering with Beyond Blue, Isaac Regional Council, Greater Whitsundays Communities, mental health care providers and Bowen Basin communities.

Front: Mitsubishi Development CEO, Kenichiro Tauchi and Wesley Research Institute CEO, Andrew Barron; Back (L-R): MDP Head of Corporate Administration, Sonia Lewis, Chairman of Wesley Research Institute, Charlie Sartain, and MDP Senior Vice President and Head of Metallurgical Coal Division, Yasutaka Okamoto

Wesley Research Institute CEO, Andrew Barron, presents Mitsubishi Development CEO, Kenichiro Tauchi, with a gift to acknowledge MDP as the ‘Founding Partner’ of Isaac Navicare Program; joined by Senior Vice President and Head of Metallurgical Coal Division, Yasutaka Okamoto, MDP Head of Corporate Administration, Sonia Lewis, and Chairman of Wesley Research Institute, Charlie Sartain 

More information

Navicare website

Navicare Background:

The Navicare initiative, made possible through Mitsubishi Development’s 2021 AU$500,000 research donation to Wesley Medical Research (WRI) which revealed numerous service gaps for residents seeking mental health care delivery in the Bowen Basin.

Following world-class research by WRI, in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, in response to the impacts that COVID-19 was having on community mental health, a new model of care for community health was developed.

The Isaac Navicare service was officially launched on 9 November 2021 at the Moranbah Youth and Community Centre. It was co-designed with the community and the Navicare service facilitates access to timely, appropriate and affordable mental health care for rural and remote Queenslanders.

Mitsubishi Development and Wesley Research Institute Partnership Background:

Mitsubishi Development has played a unique part in the almost 30-year history of Wesley Research Institute (WRI), Queensland’s second oldest medical research organisation, having contributed to the organisation every year since it was established in 1994.

This support has included the Mitsubishi Development Rural and Remote Health Centre established in 2009. The Centre was established in recognition of the significant challenges in dealing with rural and remote health in Australia, challenges that are particularly evident in Queensland due to the greater decentralisation than most other states.

Australians living in rural and remote areas, such as those where Mitsubishi Development’s BMA operations are located, have higher rates of health risk factors, lower access to health services such as GP’s and mental health support and high rates of death due to chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, compared with their metropolitan counterparts.

Sadly, suicide rates are almost double in rural and remote areas as compared with the rest of Australia. Access to primary, acute and specialist care is limited in rural areas, and distance, cost, stigma and lack of healthcare professionals all act as barriers to receiving good quality mental health care.

Mitsubishi Development’s founding sponsorship of the centre recognises the company’s social and economic contribution to regional Queensland as a resource producer and its commitment to the communities of Central Queensland. Since its development, the Centre has helped thousands of Australians, particularly those in mining communities, through direct and indirect initiatives.