Mental health

Please be advised that our mental health services are still able to support you and are taking referrals. Services are available face to face, via videocalls or over the phone. Please contact the services directly if you have questions or concerns about how they can help you.

Mental health services funded by Central and Eastern Sydney PHN

All services funded by CESPHN are free to clients.

Services should be matched to individual's choice and the level of their mental health needs applying a stepped care approach.

Stepped Care approach

Primary mental health care service delivery is moving towards a stepped care approach as part of the reforms implemented by the Commonwealth Department of Health. This approach will support people to access services based on their needs, at the right time.

Stepped care is an evidence-based approach comprising of interventions, from the least to the most intensive based on the level of mental health needs.

Stepped Care Model

In a Stepped Care Model, service delivery is defined by three core elements:

  • A range of needs exist within a population, and an individual’s needs also change over time. A spectrum of interventions is available to meet different needs, from mental health information to coordinated team care.
  • A person accessing mental health services can receive a level of intervention that meets their current needs and preferences.
  • An individual does not need to start at the least intensive intervention to progress to the next ‘intervention but can access any service that aligns with their needs and choice.
Stepped Care Principles

Stepped Care Principles are the foundation of the stepped care approach in mental health services.

Under the Stepped Care Principles, services are focused on a person’s choice as well as matched to the individual’s needs and recovery goals. Needs are reflected on a continuum and interventions are matched to the severity and complexity of needs and preferences. Individuals do not have to start at the least intensive level of intervention to progress to the next level. They can enter the system and have their individual requirements and needs to be met.

Services should be connected, easy to access, flexible and responsive to changing needs. In addition, services commissioned by CESPHN are expected to be informed by evidence and accountable with a key focus on the underserviced groups, including children, young people, people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the CESPHN region.

Download the  pdf Stepped Care Model and Principles (644 KB) .

The pdf community guide (429 KB)  represents current funded services at CESPHN ranging from early to high needs services, applying a Stepped Care approach. 


For more information on all clinical services that CESPHN have commissioned in line with the assessed needs of the region please check the pdf Listing of Commissioned Services. (532 KB)


To help manage the care of mental health consumers, providing advice on diagnosis, investigation, medication and safety plan, please check the Psychiatry Support Line for GPs.


To help patients understand the new telehealth counselling being offered please check the Telehealth Counselling FAQ

Early to low needs services

Best suited for people who are experiencing everyday life pressures who can benefit from support to get back on track. The early to low needs services offer a mix of resources based on need including self-help strategies, digital mental health resources, telephone and/or face-to-face services.

Medium needs services

Best suited to people who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health conditions. A severe mental health condition is likely to be enduring/persistent and limit everyday functioning e.g. ability to maintain self-care. A person with severe mental illness may also experience complex psychosocial issues. people with complex needs are likely to benefit from wrap-around coordinated care. Face to face clinical care using a combination of GP care, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Psychologists and Allied Health Coordinated, multiagency services.

High needs services

Best suited to people who are experiencing moderate to high level of distress and life challenges which are limiting everyday functioning. High needs services may offer coordinated care including clinical and non-clinical supports. This could include face-to-face clinical care using a combination of GP care, allied health, mental health nurses, with support from psychiatrists. It may also include face-to-face non-clinical support using peer workers and community social workers with access to social, vocational and cultural supports.