Mental health in the community

Our vision is to work collaboratively towards accessible, wellness focused, culturally safe mental health care.

We are committed to building a person centred, integrated system of mental health care in the central and eastern Sydney region.

We work with the community to ensure people with any level of mental health need can access timely and wellness focused care that optimises recovery and supports self-management of mental health needs.

This page provides information on mental health, mental health resources and links, and local mental health services and programs for the community.

What is mental health?

Mental health is an important and essential component of health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

Mental health is about wellness rather than illness.

Mental health reflects our sense of wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, make choices, work productively and contribute to community. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and older age.

Talking to your GP about mental health

Mental ill health can have a negative impact on your physical health, just as a having a physical health problem can affect your mental health.

GPs are there to help you with any problem related to your mental health as well as physical health. You can go to them if you feel sad after a relative has passed away, if the pressures of life are making you unhappy and anxious, or if you feel angry or confused. GPs don't just prescribe medicines for mental health conditions. They can also help you to access talking therapies and point you towards specialist help.

Some face-to-face services are subsidised by Medicare. If you and your GP think you would benefit from accessing this type of service, your GP will prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan and make a referral to an appropriately qualified provider.

What is the Mental Health Treatment Plan?

A mental health treatment plan is a tool used by your doctor to work with you in getting the right

Mental health service. The plan helps you discuss with your doctor the focus and aim in achieving what you want and need in your mental health care.

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 date is made to discuss the progress of your treatment.

How to access mental health services in your region?

The  pdf community guide (890 KB)  represents services currently funded by CESPHN including those accessible through health professional referral and self-referral. Find a service that is suitable to your needs and make a referral or ask your GP for a referral. All services funded by CESPHN are free to access.

My Health Record and Mental Health

What is a My Health Record?

A My Health Record is an electronic summary of your health records. You and healthcare providers who are authorised by participating Healthcare Provider Organisations can access it online whenever you need, from wherever you are.

As the system develops over time, My Health Record will give registered healthcare providers involved in your care access to a summary of your key health information, provided you give initial consent when you set up the access settings for your My Health Record. This will include information such as medications, hospital Discharge Summaries, allergies and immunisations.

What information will be in My Health Record?

When you first log on to your My Health Record, it will contain basic information. You can add your own notes, including emergency contact details, any allergies you have or medication you are taking, your Indigenous status, Veteran and Australian Defence Force status, as well as information about the custodian of your Advance Care Directive (‘living will’), if you have one.

Information about your health that is held by Medicare will be added to your My Health Record. This can include immunisation records, Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits information, and organ donation details.

Your My Health Record will build up over time and eventually hold information about your prescriptions, physical and mental health history, outcomes from hospital stays, interactions with GPs, community-based health and mental health organisations and specialists. You are able to restrict access to your record or documents when you set up access settings for your My Health Record

How will a My Health Record help me get better mental health care?

Being in control of your general and mental health information puts you at the centre of your care and recovery journey.
If you have a mental health issue, having a My Health Record can make getting the right treatment and ongoing physical and mental health care easier, safer and better coordinated. It will make getting healthcare:

  • easier – you will not have to repeat or remember the healthcare providers you have seen or your medications;
  • safer – mental healthcare providers can view your important healthcare information - including allergies, medication, treatment you have received and who is involved in your mental health care; and
  • better coordinated – other health and mental healthcare providers will be able to see who is doing what to support your general health and your mental health recovery journey.

Who will be able to contribute to My Health Record?

If you have a Nominated Healthcare Provider, he or she can create a Shared Health Summary for you and upload it to your My Health Record with your consent. This is an overview of your current health status and can include information about your mental health that is helpful for you, your carer and other healthcare providers.
You can enter your own personal health notes, for your own private use like a health diary.
With your permission, your healthcare providers participating in the My Health Record system will be able to upload an Event Summary with the outcome of their consultation.

Is it compulsory to have a My Health Record?

No. It is voluntary to sign up to the My Health Record system for individuals and healthcare providers. You can also decide to opt out of the system at any time.

Is the information in my My Health Record safe and secure?

Yes. Your My Health Record is protected by law and strong regulations. You will have a user login and password to access your My Health Record, and control over which Healthcare Provider Organisations can view your information.
Healthcare and mental health providers involved in your care will be able to view and upload information to your My Health Record. You have the option to control who can access your My Health Record. This includes setting controls so that documents or reports can only be viewed by certain Healthcare Provider Organisations. In the unlikely case of another person accessing your file, you will be able to see this in your Access History.

Can I see who has looked at or updated my My Health Record?

Privacy and security is at the forefront of the My Health Record system design. The My Health Record system will keep a log of everyone who has accessed your record and you will be able to see this when you log in. There are strong penalties for people who access the system without permission, or misuse information they see.
If you have concerns about someone inappropriately accessing your My Health Record, you can contact the helpline on 1800 723 471.

Will I have control over my My Health Record?

Yes. You can control what information is stored in the record, who can update and see your information, which parts of your record Healthcare Provider Organisations can see (e.g. information from your mental health service provider) and who can add to it. You can also check that it is up to date.
You can also make your own private notes in a special area in your My Health Record. You can use this like an online health diary. You could keep a record of how you are feeling on any particular day or use it as a prompt for when you are speaking to your doctors.

Who can see information about my mental health on my My Health Record?

You have the option to control who can access your My Health Record. This includes setting controls so that particular documents or reports can only be viewed by certain Healthcare Provider Organisations.
The purpose of My Health Records is to share important health information with those involved in your care, helping to better coordinate your health care. You may decide that you want all Healthcare Provider Organisations to be able to see your general and mental health information for the purpose of providing health care to you, which is the default setting when you set up your My Health Record. If you choose to leave the controls at the default setting, and if a Healthcare Provider Organisation is registered with the My Health Record system, then all doctors, nurses and other authorised staff in this organisation will be able to see your My Health Record.

What if I do not want certain healthcare providers to see parts of my record?

Some people who are recovering from mental illness may not want all healthcare providers to see all their health history or information. You will have the option to choose, or limit, which Healthcare Provider Organisations can see the information or particular documents on your My Health Record.
If you are going to a healthcare provider for something that you feel is unrelated to your mental health condition, you may choose not to give permission for them to view certain parts of your record, by restricting your access settings. However, it is very important that your healthcare providers have access to all the information they need to offer you the best possible care. Therefore, limiting information should be done only after thinking about the implications of a healthcare provider not knowing all of your health history.

Can my carer see my My Health Record?

Yes, if you give them permission. Once you have registered for a My Health Record, you can choose any trusted person, such as a Carer, family member or healthcare provider, to be registered as a Full Access Nominated Representative for your My Health Record. This will allow them to see your My Health Record and help you manage it. They can help you enter and update information.

How can I make sure the right information about my mental health is added to my My Health Record?

You can check your My Health Record online whenever you like. So, when you see a mental health provider, you can agree that they enter information about your consultation. This will help you track your treatment. However, if you believe there is something missing or incorrect in your My Health Record, you can ask your mental health provider to include or correct it.

What happens if I go to a number of different healthcare professionals?

It does not matter how many different doctors, nurses or mental health or other healthcare providers you see, your My Health Record travels with you. No matter where you are, if you have not restricted healthcare providers’ access, they will all be able to see the same information.

Can someone help me register for a My Health Record?

Yes. Help and support will be provided if you are not sure how to register or you do not have internet access. Phone 1800 723 471 or ask for help in a Medicare Service Centre.

Where can I get advice on how best to manage my My Health Record?

You will find information at the My Health Record website, or through the helpline on 1800 723 471.

Stay current with news in your region by subscribing to Sydney Health Weekly

Enter your email