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Psychological Support Services (PSS) – Suicide Prevention Service

PSS SPS is designed to provide support to people in the community who are at increased risk of suicide or self-harm. However, PSS SPS is not designed to support individuals who are at acute and immediate risk of suicide or self-harm. These individuals should be referred immediately to the relevant state or territory government acute mental health team (or equivalent).

In considering an individual’s eligibility for this service, providers should consider the complexity of the individual’s circumstances and the number of contributing factors. Consideration should also be given to the short-term nature of the PSS SPS and whether the individual is more appropriately supported by the state acute mental health service. If in any doubt as to the immediacy of risk of the patient, the mental health professional (MHP) is to contact the acute mental health team. This project is not intended to have the MHP take on the crisis intervention role, nor replace existing local acute mental health services.

Please note: In case of emergencies and crisis situation, access and referral to Acute Mental Health Care Services in New South Wales are via The Mental Health Line Ph: 1800 011 511.


PSS SPS is for individuals 18 years and over who have attempted suicide or who have heightened suicidal ideation and are being supported in the primary health care setting, therefore no longer considered at acute risk.

This service is primarily designed for 4 groups of people:

  1. Individuals who, after an attempted suicide and have been discharged into the care of a Medical Practitioner from hospital, or released into the care of a Medical Practitioner from an Acute Care Team (ACT) or an Emergency Department/Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre (PECC)
  2. Individuals who have presented to an acute care team or PECC after an attempted suicide or incident of self-harm, and discharged to the community
  3. Individuals who have presented or expressed strong suicidal ideation or an incident of self-harm to their medical provider or mental health professional
  4. Individuals who are on general PSS and have appropriately been stepped up.

This Service may also provide support to those who are considered at increased risk in the aftermath of a suicide.

Referrals are processed within 72 hours and contact with the client by the allocated mental health clinician is made within 7 days.

If your client is requiring more immediate support (< 7days), then they are NOT suitable for the PSS SPS. The SPS program has a limited number of mental health professionals providing this service. The CESPHN Intake Team will advise you if the referral cannot be accepted due to current capacity and demand.

The SPS Program is NOT:

  • A crisis service or designed to replace acute care services
  • For individuals with an individual suicide risk rating of the following, who need to be referred to acute care or appropriate services:
    • Assertive Follow-up Services – Individual has recently attempted suicide, and based on my clinical judgement, requires assertive, community-based, case coordination to keep them safe.
    • Imminent Risk – The person is at imminent risk of suicide. Based on my clinical judgement this person requires immediate/ urgent assistance.

All referrals and reviews must come through CESPHN Mental Health Central Intake team via:

  1. Online Service Referral Form or
  2. Healthlink/ GP Integrator
  • Referrals will not be accepted via email or FAX due to privacy concerns.

Referrals to the PSS program can be made by:

  • Medical Practitioner: GPs, Psychiatrist, Pediatricians, Obstetrician-Gynecologist (peri-natal only)
  • Non-medical Practitioners: Referrals can also be accepted from some non-medical professionals. This includes Acute mental health teams, Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres, headspace Centres
How many sessions will clients be eligible for?

Clients are eligible for 12 individual sessions within a 2-month period. These 12 sessions can be either 12 face to face sessions, or 10 face to face sessions and 2 care-coordination sessions. If the individual requires additional sessions, they can be “stepped down” to the general PSS program, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

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