Mental Health services needing a GP referral
Mental Health Services in South Western Sydney accessible through GP referral
The below services, commissioned by South Western Sydney PHN, are available for community members to access through a GP referral.
What is You in Mind?
If you are suffering from stress and/or a mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, the You in Mind service can provide you with free psychological support. The service is confidential and available to you, your family, friends or anyone in the wider community over the age of 12 years, that identify as:
- Culturally and linguistically diverse or from a refugee background
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- Living in the rural areas of Wollondilly and Wingecarribee, with barriers to gaining support through Better Access (Medicare) services
- Residents of Claymore, Airds and the 2168 postcode
How Does You in Mind Work?
The You in Mind service includes up to 12 hours of free support by a mental health professional, such as a Psychologist or Mental Health Accredited Social Worker, at a time, location and venue that suits you. The mental health professional will provide you with evidence-based and person-centred support to improve your overall wellbeing.
How do I access the program?
Your GP can refer you to the service and a You in Mind professional will contact you directly to schedule your first meeting. Alternatively, South Western Sydney PHN has commissioned the following providers to deliver mental health support. Ask for the You in Mind Coordinator in your region:
- Macarthur/Liverpool/Bankstown/Fairfield: One Door Health Care, Ph: 9199 6143
- Wollondilly Wingecarribee: Community Links, Ph: 4683 2776
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services: (Macarthur, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee), Connection Emotion Reflection, Ph: 4684 3633.
You in Mind – Provisional Referral
Sue - Female - Age 23
Sue is a 23-year-old female living in the Southern highlands with her mother.
Sue has a family history of mental illness, including depression and anxiety. Over the past four years, Sue had been travelling overseas and has spent time attending spiritual retreats and self-help groups. Since returning home, Sue has resumed work in cafes, and works long hours. On her two days’ off, Sue usually meets friends in Sydney or stays local. She has maintained some friendships from school, however describes high school as a source of distress due to targeted and sustained bullying at 14 years of age. Sue believes it was during this time that she became depressed and experienced chronic suicidal thoughts, but did not receive treatment.
Sue became a client of You in Mind after spending a weekend in Sydney. During this time Sue was consuming alcohol and stimulants, and whilst driving home became overwhelmed with memories, causing a panic attack and disorientation. Following this, Sue visited a local GP practice she had never been to before and was seen by the doctor immediately. The doctor assessed her mental state, noting Sue’s uncertainty about receiving mental health treatment. Sue agreed to meet a You in Mind mental health professional under a ‘provisional’ referral, meaning she would be able to attend up to three sessions without a Mental Health Treatment Plan, during which time a therapeutic relationship may be developed between Sue and the clinician and questions around therapy could be answered. Ultimately this option for soft entry, empowered Sue to take control of her health while being provided a quick and responsive service.
After the three sessions were complete, Sue agreed to return to the GP to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan developed so that she could access the remaining nine sessions under You in Mind.
Sue is regularly attending therapy and is making positive progress.
You in Mind – Provisional Referral
Fred - Male - Age 55
Fred is a 55-year-old married man with three adult sons who all live independently, two who live interstate. Fred’s wife was diagnosed with a degenerative physical illness ten years ago which has confined her to a wheel chair. She needs in home support as Fred works and is also managing his own chronic physical illness. Fred’s parents were German migrants post WW2. He grew up in the Wollondilly/Wingecarribee region and left school to learn the trade of building. He has no family history or previous experience of mental health issues, however reports deteriorating mood and increasing feelings of hopelessness over the last few years. To date, he has not spoken of his parent’s experiences during the war. His children are all managing well and have no evidence of ill health.
Fred was referred to the You in Mind service through the local Community Mental Health team (a nominated referring agency of You in Mind) who sought Fred’s consent to share his contact details and passed them onto the You in Mind service provider – Community Links.
A You in Mind mental health professional contacted Fred to meet for the first of three sessions without having to obtain a Mental Health Treatment Plan. Fred chose to meet at a convenient time and location in a local park, and he explained how he came to seek support via the Community Mental Health team.
Over the course of two sessions, Fred decided to continue to attend therapy with the You in Mind Clinician and made an appointment with his GP to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan developed. The You in Mind clinician also spoke with Fred’s GP in preparation of the appointment and offered follow up support to walk through the referral process if needed.
Fred continues to see the You in Mind clinician fortnightly for office based therapy, he has noticed an improvement in his mood and reduction in symptoms.
What is STAR4Kids?
STAR4Kids (Supporting Them to Achieve Resilience) is for children aged 3-12 who have behavioural or emotional difficulties. Seeking help early gives your child the best chance to work through difficulties before they progress. Your child does not have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition to access STAR4Kids services.
How Does STAR4Kids Work?
STAR4Kids includes up to 12 hours of free psychological support with a mental health professional (psychologist, mental health nurse or accredited social worker) who has experience working with children.
How do I access the Program?
You can visit your GP for a referral. You will need to book a longer GP appointment, so your child can be assessed and a referral and GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (for Children) completed.
Referrals can also be made through approved referrers such as early childhood centres, teachers and school counsellors.
South Western Sydney PHN has commissioned the following providers to deliver mental health support for children.
- Campbelltown and Camden Sparrow Centre Ph: 0417 469800 www.facebook.com/Sparrow-Centre-for-Children-134112820285987/
- Fairfield Proactive Psychology Ph: 9727 7752 www.proactivepsychology.com.au/
- Liverpool and Bankstown Mission Australia Ph: 9732 6504 www.missionaustralia.com.au
- Wollondilly and Wingecarribee At Full Potential Ph: 4655 1694 www.atfullpotential.com.au
After your referral has been made, a STAR4Kids professional will contact you directly to make an appointment so your child can be assessed. You will work together to come up with a plan of action that best suits your child’s needs.
What is Connect for Wellness?
Connect for Wellness offers support to people who experience severe and persistent mental health issues. The program provides access to free psychological services and a Peer Worker to support you in your recovery.
Who can access Connect for Wellness?
You can access Connect for Wellness if you:
- live with severe and persistent mental health issues
- are not currently engaged in primary care based psychological services
- are at risk of hospitalisation
- are aged 16+
- live in the South Western Sydney (SWS) catchment areas of: Liverpool, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Bankstown, Camden, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee.
How does Connect for Wellness work?
Through Connect for Wellness you will receive:
- improved availability and accessibility to psychological treatment, including therapy group options
- a Connect for Wellness Peer Worker to assist with access to psychological therapy, including peer education group programs, and as a vital and consistent form of support throughout the program.
- assistance in learning about your mental health condition as part of ongoing psychological support
- flexibility to ensure the services you receive match your needs
How do I access the program?
Your GP can refer you to the service. You can also receive referrals from SWSPHN approved non-GP referrers (e.g., day to day living centres, community mental health) or by a Connect for Wellness Peer Worker. Alternatively, South Western Sydney PHN has commissioned Wellways Australia to deliver the service. You can contact Wellways Australia to enquire about the service on 02 4666 0500 or email@example.com
Clinical Suicide Prevention Service
The Clinical Suicide Prevention Service is here to support and provide treatment to people having thoughts of suicide or who have attempted suicide. You will be allocated a trained mental health professional to support you for a period of up to 2 months. Support can include helpful ways to think, relax and reduce stress. After these two months, your GP can refer you to further help if needed.
After mental health central intake receives your referral (open during normal business hours Monday-Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm) you will be contacted within 24 hours and offered an appointment with a mental health professional within 3-5 business days.
Referral: Referral to the Clinical Suicide Prevention Service is through a GP. Your GP will talk with you about how you are feeling and together you can pinpoint the main problems and plan how to tackle them.
NOTE: This service is not designed for people at high or immediate risk of suicide. These people should go to their nearest emergency department
Consultant Psychiatry Service
What is the Consultant Psychiatry Service?
If you have barriers to accessing a psychiatrist, for example, you are unable to afford one, you may be eligible for the Consultant Psychiatry Service. The consultant psychiatry service provides free psychiatrist support to people who experience severe and persistent mental health issues. The service is also here to help your GP to better support you in your recovery.
How does the Consultant Psychiatry Service work?
The service is available at General Practices in South Western Sydney. Telepsychiatry (phone or web-based) is available to any general practices in South Western Sydney and face-to-face sessions are available at select practices in:
- Wollondilly - Tahmoor Medical Centre
You will be allocated to your nearest participating practice if you would like face-to-face sessions.
An appointment typically includes working with you to assess your needs and provide you with evidence-based, person-centred support, as well as some time with your GP to develop a care plan and discuss any medications.
Speak to your GP to find out if they are utilising the Consultant Psychiatry Service in their practice.
How do I access the Program?
Your GP can refer you to the service and a Consultant Psychiatrist will contact you and your GP directly to schedule your first meeting. Once you have been referred, your GP can book your next appointment online.
Credentialed Mental Health Nurse Service
The Credentialed Mental Health Nurse Service provides ongoing (based on individual needs) therapeutic interventions and care coordination if you are living with severe and persistent mental illness, where the mental illness is significantly impacting your social, personal and work life. Services can include:
- Regular reviewing you mental health and providing therapeutic interventions such as CBT, health coaching, mindfulness, recovery oriented practice, motivational interviewing and strengths based therapy.
- Administering and monitoring your medication.
- Working closely with your family and carers where appropriate.
- Providing information on your physical healthcare (including assessment and management if you are at risk of metabolic syndrome).
- Promoting health and wellbeing.
- Coordinating clinical services and supporting care planning and management.
- Working with relevant mental health support services.
- Some mental health nurses may be able to provide home visits or outreach services.
After mental health central intake receives your referral (open during normal business hours Monday-Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm) you may be contacted for an initial conversation and phone assessment. If you are deemed eligible, you will be allocated to a mental health nurse in your area who will be in touch with you. If you are not eligible for the service, central intake may be able to refer you to one of our other, more suitable, programs.
Referral: Anyone can refer to the Credentialed Mental Health Nurse Service through mental health central intake. A GP mental health treatment plan must be submitted within one month of service commencement.
Credentialed Mental Health Nursing Service (CMHNS)
Morpheus – Male – Age 52
Morpheus* is a 52 year old male who was referred to the Credentialed Mental Health Nursing Service (CMHNS) by his job search network. The CMHNS was launched in 2017 by the South Western Sydney PHN and has been allocated federal mental health funding. The program aims to provide ongoing therapeutic interventions and coordination of clinical services for those with severe and persistent mental illness.
Morpheus was initially referred for his depressive symptoms, but during the initial consultation, a long history of auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusional thoughts were disclosed. Morpheus stated he had been hospitalised a number of times since the 1980s and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He reported being on several medications, but could not recall their names apart from Methadone. Amongst his physical and mental health diagnoses are cervical, thoracic and lumbar spondylosis; asthma; and major depressive disorder. He stated being an intravenous drug user in his 20s and ceased by his 30s. He does not consume alcohol or illicit substances at the current time.
Morpheus applied for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) many times and was never invited for an interview; i.e. the application was rejected at the administrative phase. He had been asked to look for work, which has been extremely difficult due to his mental health, spending sleepless nights searching for cameras in his house; rearranging furniture to block windows and doors to prevent intruders, which he reports have stolen from him and have been after him for years.
A decision was made that I attend a GP appointment with Morpheus to ascertain some further information, and perhaps acquire some documentation, to assist him with another application for the DSP as he was unable to work in this state. After waiting two-and-a-half hours to see him, the GP informed us that another application for the DSP would likely be rejected. I informed the GP that I felt with his diagnosis of Schizophrenia alone (and symptomology), he would be eligible for the DSP. The GP stated that there is no record of Schizophrenia in the GP notes. At this point, Morpheus was extremely upset, stating that he had been in hospital for his symptoms, and the discharge summaries were usually faxed to the GP. It also appeared that he was not medicated for the Schizophrenia, except when he received prescriptions from the hospital shortly following his discharge. He had, however, been on antidepressant medication prescribed by the GP.
The GP stated that he could not confirm the diagnosis and a referral to a Psychiatrist was required. A referral was made to a private Psychiatrist, whose fee ranges around the $300 mark. Morpheus, already on limited income and unable to purchase medications and proper food, would not be able to afford this kind of fee.
Morpheus and I went back to my office where I called the local hospital and had them fax over his discharge summaries. I also contacted the Local Health District’s Community Mental Health team and they accepted his referral considering his presentation and that he was not medicated. Morpheus was relieved and stated that I was an angel (possibly delusional ).
At that point, being only months working for the CMHNS, I realised that the need for the CMHN is extraordinary. Case coordination and clinical liaison is an important aspect of mental health care. Understandably, the GP can only do so much within the allotted timeframes and it is unfortunate to know some clients with severe and persistent mental health issues slip under the radar and are seemingly unaware of how the health system has failed them. The CMHNS is a long-awaited and urgently-required service to those in dire need.
*real name not used.