Publications A new blueprint for mental health services in Australia

Details of the Reforms

Stepped Care Model

  • Australia will move towards a ‘stepped care’ model in stages over the next three years.
  • This will see Australians receive varying levels of primary care treatment and support depending on their level of need as determined by a health professional, whether that be ‘at risk’, mild, moderate or severe/complex.
  • This will shape the delivery of primary mental health services towards a more modern, flexible and nimble model of care, rather than the current “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Integrated Team-Care Package Tailored to Individual Needs

  • For the first time, Australians with a severe and complex mental illness will also have access to an integrated care package tailored to their individual needs.
  • A package would see people identified by health professionals as having complex care needs eligible to access a package of integrated health services, including: comprehensive assessment and care-coordination support; psychological services; mental health nursing; drug and alcohol services; vocational assistance; and peer support.
  • These arrangements will be phased in over three years from early 2016-17, with initial trial sites to be identified during this current financial year (2015-16).

Localised Services Delivered Through Primary Care Networks

  • To successfully deliver a stepped care model it must be recognised there are individual needs and challenges that are specific to communities that do not always fit the one-size-fits-all model of service delivery run from Canberra.
  • What works in Brisbane may not work in Broken Hill. Service providers operating in Adelaide may not consider it viable to operate in in Albury.
  • The Turnbull Government will undertake a landmark shift in service delivery from Canberra to local communities through the 31 Primary Health Networks across the country.
  • PHNs will be put in charge of commissioning the mental health services they consider necessary and appropriate to the needs of their local communities, rather than them being contracted at a fragmented national level in Canberra.
  • For example, decisions about the youth mental health services required in a local community will now be made by that local community, not Canberra.
  • The Government’s reform package will include more than $350 million per annum that will be redirected from Canberra towards PHNs to deliver mental health services on the ground from 2016-17.
  • The funding will be made up of: ATAPS; Early Psychosis Prevention & Intervention Centres (EPPIC); Headspace service delivery (national office to remain); Mental Health Nurse Incentive Programme; Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas; and various fragmented Suicide Prevention programmes.

Suicide Prevention

  • A new approach to suicide prevention, co-ordinated by PHNs, focusing on evidence and community based suicide prevention activities to address local needs, and better integration with state and territory activities.

Digital Gateway

  • Harnessing innovative digital mental health technologies via a single entry point gateway. The gateway will navigate people to the most appropriate service for their individual needs.

Increased Access to Services for Indigenous Australians

  • An additional $85 million over three years to provide greater access to mental health services for Indigenous Australians.

Nationally Co-ordinated Services for Children & Youth

  • A new single school-based initiative covering early childhood through the end of secondary school will be rolled out from July 1 2016.
  • The Mental Health in Education initiative will bring together several existing programmes to create a single comprehensive service available to children and young people in order to improve outcomes through better mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention.
  • This will include providing teachers and other staff working with children with training and resources to create a supportive environment and recognise, prevent or reduce the impact of mental health problems when they emerge.