Psychological Support Services (PSS)

Mental Health Central Intake

1300 170 554 |
Fax: 1300 112 489

What is PSS and who can use it?

PSS (formerly known as ATAPS) provides FREE short-term face to face psychological services for underserviced groups. Services are delivered by appropriately trained and qualified mental health professionals including: Psychologists (general and clinical), mental health nurses, mental health accredited social workers, mental health accredited occupational therapists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers.


PSS is for people who live, work or study in the Central and Eastern Sydney region with diagnosable mild to moderate mental health concerns, who may benefit from short term treatment, are unable to Access other available services including Better Access (Medicare subsidised psychological services) due to financial hardship (Individual income < $55,000; family income < $130,000) AND who fit into one of the below underserviced and/or hard to reach populations:

  1. Children (who are aged between 0-12 years who have not yet graduated from primary school) with, or who are at risk of developing a mild to moderate, mental, emotional or behavioural disorder 
  2. Young people (12-25 years) 
  3. Individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer/Questioning (LGBTIQ) 
  4. Individuals experiencing perinatal depression and their partners
  5. Individuals who identify as from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background
  6. Individuals who identify as from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background 
  7. Individuals who have attempted, or who are at risk of suicide, or self-harm 
  8. Individuals at risk of becoming homeless; 
  9. Individuals living within the following areas, based on internal analysis on client to PSS MHP ratios, have been identified as experiencing high levels of psychological distress and/or low Access to any psychological services: SA3 Botany, Canterbury, Eastern Suburbs – South, Hurstville, and Marrickville;

People with severe mental health concerns who may benefit from short term focused psychological intervention as part of their overall care and people with Intellectual disability who may benefit from short term psychological intervention when co-occurring mental health concerns are diagnosed, may also be eligible for PSS.


GP Referral Forms

Referral forms are required to access all PSS programs. The referral form includes a mental health treatment plan, K10+ and Risk Assessment which must always be signed by a GP. This form should then be sent via fax to CESPHN Intake and Triage team on 1300 112 489. The referral will then be allocated to an appropriate mental health professional and the GP will be notified of the outcome via email. Should a referral get declined, the GPs will receive communication from CESPHN Intake and Triage team.

For more information about Youth Mental Health Referral Options please pdf click here (186 KB)

Download a list of the registered PSS mental health providers pdf here. (238 KB)

Download a list of provider organisations pdf here. (77 KB)

GP referrals for adults and young people (over 12 years)
 PDFWordBest PracticeMedical Director 
PSS Initial Referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan document pdf text   Best Practice template download Medical Director template download
PSS Review Referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan document pdf text   Best Practice template download Medical Director template download
GP referrals for children (12 years and under)
 PDFWordBest PracticeMedical Director 
Psychological Support Services – GP Initial Referral and Child Treatment Plan PDF document download   Best Practice template download Medical Director template download
Psychological Support Services – GP Review Referral and Child Treatment Plan PDF document download   Best Practice template download Medical Director template download


Provisional referrals

A provisional referral allows for a certain number of sessions to be approved (depending on the referral type, see below) for an assessment with a PSS registered mental health professional prior to development of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan. Should sessions continue after the provisional session(s) have been completed, the client will need to see their GP for an initial PSS referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan before further sessions can be approved.

Download a list of the pdf registered PSS mental health providers. (238 KB)

Download a list of folder provider organisations.

 Provisional referrers includeProvisional sessions allowedOnline
Children (0 – 12 years and under)
  • School Counsellors
  • School Principal/Deputy
  • Directors of Early Childhood Services
  • Managers in NGOs
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Adolescents (12 – 25 years)
  • School Counsellors
  • School Principal/Deputy 
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Perinatal Depression Maternal and Child Health Nurses 2 2019015 icons 22
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Aboriginal Health Workers
  • House Parents of Kirinari Hostel (Sylvania)
  • School Counsellors
  • School Principal/Deputy
  • Managers in NGOs 
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Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
  • Multicultural Community Health Liaison Officers
  • Managers in NGOs
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Suicide Prevention (non-acute)  Acute mental health teams Unlimited sessions for 2 months (approximately 12 sessions) 2019015 icons 22


PSS Groups
Referral Process for PSS Groups (Currently Not Available)


Under the Psychological Support Services (PSS) program, PSS clients may access group-based psychological therapies in a twelve month period from initial referral.

When referring new clients; PSS eligibility will apply. 


1) For referrals please complete and submit online. 

2) Select Mental Health Services (PICS, PSS, RACF) and Psychological Support Services.  

3) Tick Group Referral and type the name of the PSS Group.

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 Group Referral selection image.  

PSS Groups (Currently Not Available)Download PDF about groupsOnline Referral link
Tresillian PND & COS group 
Click here to read more about the course
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Parenting Through Separation   document pdf text
Tuning Into Kids Parenting Rockdale   document pdf text
CALD Mandarin Mental Health Group 
 document pdf text
Women’s Wellbeing Group   document pdf text
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Currently Not Available)


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group therapies are provided in the CESPHN region for people experiencing severe mental illness. DBT is an evidence-based program that is designed to reduce ineffective action tendencies linked to deregulated emotions. It is an effective treatment for Borderline Personality disorder however services are limited to location, availability and group capacity in the CESPHN region. 

The Sydney DBT skills program aims to create a life worth living and works to enhance skills and help reduce emotional dysregulation and interpersonal conflict. The Family Connections Program is a DBT skills group program for the family and carers. The 20-week DBT skills program and 12-week Family Connections program are run at Newtown and Sutherland. For more information please visit:

For information about referrals, group dates, registration, availability and waitlists please contact Adrian Ienna:



Better Access and PSS

Department of Health guidance re Better Access and PSS

In the instance where a patient has received the 10 psychological therapy services available under Better Access through the Medicare Benefits Schedule initiative and considered to clinically benefit from additional services, the person may be eligible for PHN funded Psychological Therapies if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Further information from the MBS is available here (Item number 2712).

To access these additional services, the following applies for the CESPHN region:

  • Client must be eligible for PSS
  • Sessions can only be delivered by PSS registered mental health professionals sub contracted/employed by one of the CESPHN commissioned providers
  • Referral to accompany the original Mental Health Treatment Plan used to access Better Access with a review from the GP for exceptional circumstances (Item number 2712)
  • CESPHN Central Intake will triage eligibility and will notify the GP of the outcome of the referral
  • Only valid for 12 months from the date on the initial Mental Health Treatment Plan

Please note: Gap payment cannot be charged for these services.

Residents and staff of aged care facilities 

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding through regionally-based Primary Health Networks to commission new mental health services for older people with mental illness who reside in Residential Aged Care Facilities. This will help to address a current gap in services for this group of people and offer access to psychological services which are like those available to people with mental illness in the community under Medicare arrangements.

CESPHN has received funding from the Department of Health to commission Mental Health services for people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities in the central and eastern Sydney region. In phase 1, CESPHN is offering a number of RACFs the opportunity to receive initial services until June 2019. Further services will be rolled out incrementally after this date.

Mental health professionals including psychologists, social workers, and mental health nurses, will be able to deliver these services to residents. Access to the new services will generally require a diagnosis of a mental illness. The new services are intended to target the needs of residents with mild to moderate mental illness.

The benefits for RACF residents from accessing needed psychological services are expected to include mood improvements, reduction in anxiety and stress, and increased ability to cope with life changes. Residents with mental illness will be more likely to engage in activities and social connections at the facility if they receive treatment appropriate to their needs.

For further information contact Riva Sekhon@



Frequently Asked Questions
What are the changes from ATAPS to PSS?

Under PSS, the providers no longer are directly employed by CESPHN. A consortium model has been created so that each provider is allocated to a provider organisation. Only these providers are able to deliver PSS services. A new referral form compliant with Department of Health guidelines including a K10+, Risk Assessment and other Minimum Data Set (MDS) must be submitted to access the service.

How many sessions will they be eligible for?

Clients are eligible for 12 individual sessions (Up to 18 sessions if approved for exceptional circumstances) and 12 group sessions in a twelve month period from initial referral. The number of sessions may vary for Suicide Prevention referrals.

How long will the referral process take?

On average, the referral will take 5 working days. The provider will be in contact with the client after the allocation has occurred to set an appointment.

Will clients be able to change providers?

Yes, the clients or the referring GP may request a transfer of PSS provider.

What item numbers should I use?

The item numbers are on top of the PSS Referral forms. For further information please visit the Department of Health page.

Do I need a Medicare or Healthcare card to access PSS?

No, however, clients need to meet PSS criteria.

How do I provide feedback?

Via the website and/or contacting the mental health manager.

What is the difference between a child treatment plan and a mental health treatment plan?

The child treatment plan does not include a K10+ with additional Risk Assessment tools. It allows for the GP to claim for a long consult as with a regular MHTP but does not trigger the item number.

Who are the provider organisations?

The provider organisations are the consortium organisations that deliver the services. Each provider is part of a provider organisation.   pdf Click here (77 KB)  for provider organisations.