Community Member

Mental Health

A large percentage of Central and Eastern Sydney PHN’s (CESPHN) funding is directed towards initiating programs to support the needs of people dealing with mental health issues in the region. These activities are undertaken in partnership and consultation with the communities, local government, Local Hospital Networks (or their equivalent), consumers, general practitioners and other health professionals, service providers, community workers, academics, elected representatives, local councils and other community members interested in improving the mental health issues in the region.

CESPHN decides which services to commission based on the mental health priority needs of the population in our region. As a result, local evidence-based solutions are implemented to improve the mental health of the region’s population. We work with stakeholders and health service providers to ensure that what is needed can be delivered. All the commissioned services are monitored and evaluated yearly to test the effectiveness of the services.

This approach to commissioning mental health services results in:

  • a better understanding of the needs of local populations, through health data analysis
  • a greater focus on health outcomes that matter to communities
  • communities being at the centre of care, with services organised and delivered in response to their needs
  • better relationships with stakeholders, providers and patients, which influences the design, funding and delivery of services
  • better value for money through the use of open and transparent procurement processes
  • the best outcomes from limited mental health resources.

CESPHN funds a range of mental health services that are offered online, face to face and in groups. We believe that GPs are the key to effective coordination of care for people dealing with Mental Health Issues. GP Mental Health Treatment Plans (GP MHTPs) provide a structured framework for GPs to undertake an assessment, early intervention and management of patients with a mental illness.

The Australian Department of Health initiated the development of the National Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) Guidance for mental health care and this Guidance (insert link) is available to GPs and other referrers to help determine the best service for their patient or client, based on the level of care that is required. The IAR provides a standardised, evidence-informed and objective approach to assist with mental health care recommendations. CESPHN has commenced the implementation of the IAR within the context of our commissioned mental health services and will expand implementation in the near future. More information about the IAR guidance and training opportunities for GPs will be available in the near future.

A detailed guide to the IAR can be found here 

IAR checklist document can be found here

Decision Support Tool can be found here 

‘Head to Health’ Pop Up mental health clinics

Head to Health Pop Up mental health clinics are now open to assist those whose mental health may be suffering as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic in NSW

The following services have been created: 

  • ‘Head to Health’ Pop Up mental health support clinics
  • An intake and referral line – call 1800 595 212  Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5:00pm (except public holidays).

NSW Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have established the clinics and referral line in collaboration with the Department of Health (DoH) to assist the community in receiving the right care, at the right time, for mental health concerns they may be experiencing.

This initiative is an expansion of DoHs Head to Health and will create a central hub for our community and health care professionals to access to services determined by a trained mental health professional.

Click here to learn more about the services. 

Acknowledgement of Lived Experience

CESPHN wishes to acknowledge people, families and carers with living experience of mental health issues and a lived experience of suicide, and recognise the valuable contributions of all community members in helping shape the support systems in our region.


How do I access CESPHN mental health services in my region?

The commissioned services page shows services currently funded by CESPHN including those accessible through a health professional referral and self-referral. Find a service that is suitable to your needs and self-refer or ask your GP for a referral. All services funded by CESPHN are free of charge to access.

You can find these and other services in our region by clicking here.Headstart is a service navigation tool to help you find mental health services that meet your needs.

What is a GP mental health treatment plan?

Some services require a GP mental health treatment plan to access the service. A mental health treatment plan is a tool used by your doctor to work with you in getting the right mental health service.
The doctor’s assessment will include taking relevant history, including your present experience of distress, assess any risk, prepare a crisis plan and complete a form known as outcome measuring tool which is a series of questions on how you are feeling. Your needs, goals and actions are then documented with your consent and a referral is made to the appropriate mental health support services. A follow-up appointment is made to discuss the progress of your treatment with you.

What is telehealth counselling and how do I use it?

The mental health services that are commissioned by CESPHN are offered face to face or via telehealth. Telehealth can be delivered over the phone or via videoconferencing depending on the service you are accessing, the preference of the provider and needs of the individual.

Join our Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) working group

Sign up to join our IAR working group.

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Initial Assessment