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Mental Health Services

Our PHN works with clinicians, service providers, people with a lived experience and local communities to commission mental health care that reflects local needs and focuses on safe, effective and quality service.

We commission services that adopt the following system reform platforms:

  • Person centred care funded on the basis of need
  • Thinking nationally, acting locally
  • Delivering services within a stepped care approach
  • Effective early intervention across the lifespan
  • Digital mental health services

Below is more information on the diverse range of mental health services and programs we support and commission, categorised by intensity of support.

First Nations Mental Health

First Nations Mental Health

Early Intervention Services


Mind Health Low Intensity Counselling

Our PHN promotes the availability of validated self-help and digital mental health services as part of a Stepped Care approach to mental health service provision. In particular we recommend the Head to Health website as the key digital gateway for accessing online, low intensity resources for clinicians and consumers.

For people living and working in our region we have commissioned On the Line to operate the MindHealth Service Connect Line, a free phone and online counselling service for the people who are feeling the pressures and stresses of everyday life.

Moderate Intensity Services

Psychological Services - Mental Health Services in Primary Care

Our PHN commissions a range of providers across our region to offer efficient and effective evidence based psychological interventions for people with moderate mental illness who are not otherwise able to access services.

Details of these organisations are:

Central Coast Primary Care Mental Health Clinical Services (Central Coast region)

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Learn more about Central Coast Primary Care Mental Health Clinical Services (Central Coast region)

HealthWISE Mental Health services (New England region)

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Learn more about HealthWISE Mental Health services (New England region)

Hunter Primary Care Psychology Services (Hunter & Manning region)

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High Needs Services

Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program (CPS) (Previously known as Psychosocial Support Services)

The PHN has commissioned Commonwealth Psychosocial Support (CPS) to be delivered across our region. The CPS provides non-clinical services to people with severe mental ill health that helps build functional capacity to enable personal recovery. Individual services are designed to be goal-orientated and short-term, and intended to build participants' ability and skills in managing their mental illness, improve their relationships with family and others, and increase social and economic participation.

This CPS program is free of charge and is available to people with severe mental ill health who are not eligible for assistance through the NDIS and are not supported through other psychosocial programs. Referrals can be made through a GP, Community Health, Service Providers, Community Organisations or self-referral (i.e. people can contact the service provider directly).

Details of providers are below.
Anglicare Psychosocial Support Service (Northern Inland)

Mental Health Support Services Sydney | Anglicare

Flourish Australia (Lower Hunter, Upper Hunter and Mid-Coast)

Flourish Australia's mental health services | Flourish Australia

Hunter Psychosocial Support Services (Newcastle, Port Stephens & Upper Hunter)

Learn more about Hunter Psychosocial Support Services (Newcastle, Port Stephens & Upper Hunter)

New Horizons Psychosocial Support Services (Lake Macquarie & Central Coast)

Learn more about New Horizons Psychosocial Support Services (Lake Macquarie & Central Coast)

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Call to Mind - Telehealth Psychiatry Services

The PHN has commissioned Call to Mind to provide a telehealth psychiatry service across the HNECC region.
The aim is to increase access to psychiatry services for people with severe and persistent mental illness who have barriers to accessing a psychiatrist.
This service is targeted at the following priority population groups:

  • Women with perinatal depression
  • First Nations people
  • People living in rural and remote areas
  • People on low income
  • People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • People with a recent suicide attempt or suicidal behaviour/ideation

The service is available to people:

  • that reside or work within the HNECC PHN catchment
  • are aged 16 years and over (exceptions can be made for people under 16 years subject to approval by the PHN)

This service will be available from early July 2022 until 30 June 2023.
There is no out of pocket expense for the patient.

Referral process

The GP must state that the referral is for an opinion and report (item 291) on the referral form. This is so the psychiatrist knows the purpose of the visit and which MBS item to use. Call to Mind will process referrals within 2-3 business days. The typical wait time for appointments is 1-2 weeks. Feedback and treatment advice is sent back to the GP within 7 days of the appointment.

Download the referral form

Referrals can be sent via:

  • Argus:
  • HealthLink: callmind
  • Medical Objects: Call to Mind
  • Fax: 03 9978 9458

*The PHN is working with Call to Mind to establish SeNT eReferral.

GP Psychiatry Support line

GPs are still able to access the GP psychiatry support line on 1800 16 17 18 for advice on the management of patients.

Suicide Prevention and Training Services

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) is online, evidence-based suicide prevention training. The program takes around one hour to complete and provides participants with:

  • knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal
  • confidence to talk to them about suicidal thoughts
  • connect them with professional care

Click here for more details on how to access the training for free.

Navigation Services

GP Psychiatry Support Line

Our PHN funds the GP Psychiatry Support Line which supports GPs to manage clients with mental health concerns appropriately in primary care.

The service is free for GPs and provides consultation and advice from a psychiatrist around a range of queries including: diagnosis; medication management; referral options; risk assessment and safety planning.

More details are available on the providers website.

GP Psychiatry Support Line

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Central Access and Referral Service

To develop capacity and improve integration of the Stepped Care Model across our region we have co-designed a Central Access and Referral Service that assesses and facilitates client referrals to appropriate service types.

The stepped care model provides a continuum of services that offer patients a range of interventions based on their clinical presentation and need.

Services available include:

  • Level 1: Self-Management - eg HeadtoHealth website
  • Level 2: Low intensity interventions – eg - MindHealth service
  • Level 3: Moderate intensity services – eg – access to a Psychologist
  • Level 4: High intensity services – eg – access to specialist services
  • Level 5: Acute and Specialist Community Mental Health Services – Tertiary inpatient or community based programs

General Practice remains at the centre of the client’s care-journey. A GP Referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan is still be required to access services. While clients have the option to self-refer, they are directed back to their GP as part of the process to ensure their clinical needs are appropriately addressed.

More details are available on the links below.

Access and Referral Service Central Coast Desktop Guide

PDF document - 0.1mbLearn more about Access and Referral Service Central Coast Desktop Guide

Access and Referral Service Hunter Mid Coast Desktop Guide

PDF document - 0.1mbLearn more about Access and Referral Service Hunter Mid Coast Desktop Guide

Access and Referral Service New England Desktop Guide

PDF document - 0.1mb

Mind Health Service Connect Line

The PHN has commissioned Mind Health Service Connect Line to connect those who need access to mental, social or physical health (psychosocial) services or support.

Anyone who requires support to navigate and access appropriate services is eligible to use this phone service.

  • Consumers
  • Carers
  • Formal Supports – paid professionals and supports
  • GPs and clinical service providers

The PHN’s 2018 Psychosocial Support Needs Assessment found that a large proportion of people with psychosocial support needs required the support of a service navigator.

To access this service please call 1300 029 131 or visit Mind Health Service Connect Line.

Mental Health Strategies and Plans

Mental Health Regional Plan 2020-2025

We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the Hunter, New England and Central Coast communities as reflected in our existing and future partnerships across a range of health issues. We have a strong commitment to mental health and suicide prevention and recognise the importance of a system-wide approach to better outcomes for individuals and communities.

The Mental Health Regional Plan provides a blueprint for more reliable and integrated mental health services in the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions. In line with the directions of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (5th National Plan)1, this plan acknowledges the need to provide more integrated care, and focus on the fragmentation across the service system to address unmet needs and improve outcomes and experiences of care for individual and communities in our area.

Mental Health Regional Plan 2020-25

PDF document - 2.1mb

Aged Care Mental Health Strategy 2020-23

In response to increased Commonwealth funding for Primary Health Networks to commission Mental Health Services for Older Australians, including people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities, we have developed an Aged Care Mental Health Strategy 2020 -2023.

The Strategy was developed to complement existing Mental Health services, while addressing the needs and gaps identified through the Aged Care Mental Health Needs Assessment to implement a suite of services within a stepped care framework that were appropriate for older people. Broad evidence-based interventions will complement existing services to holistically address the mental health and wellbeing of older people, while also supporting workforce capacity.

The stages implementation will involve:

  • Three streams of psychological treatment and support will be available to deliver mild to low interventions. The interventions will begin in the pilot region and be reviewed for potential expansion after the pilot; and
  • Capacity building component.

You can view the range of piloted interventions here

Aged Care Mental Health Strategy 2020-23

PDF document - 0.2mb

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