Update on mental health and drug and alcohol system in central and eastern Sydney

In our June edition of Sydney Health Issue we highlighted that from 1 July 2016, PHNs will play a key role in the mental health, and drug and alcohol system architecture, as the Australian Government re-orients service provision towards locally responsive and integrated care.

Click here to read the full article

What does this mean for current mental health programs and services?


From 1 July 2016 headspace centres will be funded through primary health networks (PHNs). Central and Eastern Sydney PHN will fund the five headspace centres in our region: Ashfield, Bondi, Camperdown, Hurstville and Miranda.

The transition process is underway with the aim to ensure no disruption to services and that headspace services are delivered with a regional focus based on the needs of young people and their families in our community.

Mental Health Nurses Incentive Program 

From 1 July 2016 funding for the Mental Health Nurses Incentive Program (MHNIP) will transition to PHNs.

Within our region in the 2015-2016 financial year there were fifteen organisations delivering an estimated 3,976 services in blocks of 3.5 hour sessions.

For the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 we are required to engage existing organisations to continue providing the MHNIP in line with current funding levels. This will ensure service continuity for existing clients (where clinically appropriate) and will minimise disruptions.

Access to Allied Psycohological Services (ATAPS) program

In order to align with the Department of Health’s priority area around access to psychological therapies for under-serviced or hard-to-reach groups, we are undertaking a redesign of our current ATAPS program. While the program will be redesigned, providing psychological interventions for people who are underserviced will not change.

Over the next 12 months the following will occur:

  • Existing providers will continue to be contracted until 30 June 2017.
  • The new program will be called Psychological Support Services (PSS) and will commence 1 November 2016.
  • We will undertake consultations and co-design with relevant stakeholders to ensure the PSS model is relevant to the specific target groups in late July 2016
  • Briefings about the PSS model will be held in August 2016.
  • Expressions of interest will be sought in August/ September 2016 to identify providers. This process will be aligned to Department of Health guidelines and outcomes of our needs assessment and co-design workshops.
  • Information about this process will be available on the CESPHN website.

What next?

We will commission a number of mental health, suicide prevention and drug and alcohol services based on identified needs and Department of Health guidelines. New commissioned activities will include;

Mental Health

  • Aboriginal specific youth mental health services 
  • Low intensity services including groups and coaching
  • Multidisciplinary care packages
  • Psychological support services for underserviced or hard to reach groups
  • Suicide prevention programs and services

Drug and Alcohol

  • Aboriginal specific drug treatment services
  • Drug and alcohol treatment services

To support the commissioning process, we are committed to ensuring the co-design of services and we look forward to partnering across the sector to ensure primary health care delivers the right care in the right place, at the right time.

For more information, contact:

Mariam Faraj

CESPHN General Manager of Clinical Services