Primary Integrated Care Supports (PICS) Program


Mental Health Central Intake

1300 170 554 |

What is PICS and who can use it?

CESPHN has commissioned the PICS program to address Primary Mental Health Care Services for People Experiencing Severe Mental Illness, as part of the Department of Health’s primary mental health care reform activities.

The aim of the Primary Integrated Care Supports (PICS) program is to provide clinical mental health services and links to psychosocial supports to meet the needs of people who experience severe mental illness which can be supported appropriately in the primary care setting, consistent with the National Framework for Recovery Oriented Mental Health Services.

The service model focuses on the integration of mental health services with general practices, use of CESPHN’s centralised referral intake process, retaining and expanding the existing mental health nurse workforce, introducing a peer workforce and applying a stepped care approach to support consumers to self-direct their recovery journey.

To ascertain the success of the transition from MHNIP to PICS, CESPHN commissioned an external evaluation of the program and its outcomes in early 2019. A number of recommendations from this evaluation are guiding the continuous quality improvement of this program relating to intake, triage, accessibility and use of outcome measures. The recommendations are being implemented using a co-design approach and in alignment with the National Assessment and Referral Guidance for PHNs. As further progress is made, updates will be provided on this page.


To be eligible to access, clients need to:

  • Aged between 18 and 65 years.
  • Reside in the CESPHN region.
  • Experience severe mental illness as evidenced by meeting 3 of the 4 criteria:
  1. Have a diagnosed mental illness which is severe and either episodic or persistent in nature (according to the criteria defined in the World Health Organisation Diagnostic and Management Guidelines for Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care: ICD 10 Chapter V Primary Care Version, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders – Fifth Edition DSM-5)
  2. The mental illness significantly impacts at least two areas of the client’s social, personal and/or occupational functioning
  3. The mental illness has resulted in hospital treatment in the previous two years.
  4. The client is expected to need ongoing treatment and management of their mental illness (for a maximum of two years)
  • Benefit from accessing primary care mental health services.
  • Are not currently receiving clinical care and coordination support through the Local Health District Community Mental Health Services.
  • Do not have a duplication of service through the NDIS or other programs.

NB: Referrer must ensure there is no duplication of services if the client is accessing a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package.

How to access the service?

Referrals can be made by GPs, psychiatrists, state mental health services, non-government organisations, mental health nurses and peer workers.

All referrals are required to be submitted through the CESPHN central intake process to ensure eligibility and allocation to One Door. One Door will then allocate the referral to the most suitable mental health nurse and peer worker via CESPHN’s client information management system. On average, the referral will take 5 working days. The nurse will be in contact with the client after the allocation has occurred to set an appointment.




Primary Integrated Care Supports (PICS) referral form 2019015 icons 22



One Door Mental Health

02 9199 6143