Clinical Services

Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS )

Effective 1 July 2015

From 1 July 2015, the South Eastern Melbourne PHN (SEMPHN) is responsible for the delivery of Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) across Melbourne's south east. To view the catchment area covered by the SEMPHN ATAPS teams, go to the interactive map of PHN boundaries.

Bayside Medicare Local (BML), Frankston Mornington-Peninsula Medicare Local (FMPML) and South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local (SEMML) will cease delivery of ATAPS on 30 June 2015.

Referral and access points remain the same as the former Medicare Locals:

Cardinia Shire, City of Casey and City of Greater Dandenong

City of Bayside; Kingston; Stonnington; Glen Eira; Port Phillip

City of Frankston

Mornington Peninsula Shire

Fax: 03 9793 9052

Enquiries:03 8738 1444

Fax: 03 8514 4488

Enquiries: 03 8514 4480

Fax: 03 5911 7999

Enquiries: 03 5911 7900

Clients in the middle of an episode of care at 30 June 2015 will be able to continue with the same provider (if the provider contracts with SEMPHN) or will be discharged to the care of their GP or another provider.

Services delivered on or after 1 July 2015 may continue on the initial referral.

Becoming an ATAPS Provider

On 1 July 2015, SEMPHN became responsible for the delivery of Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) across its catchment.

PHNs are required to commission clinical services in accordance with Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. However, given the short lead time for transitioning services, SEMPHN offered Allied Health Providers who previously delivered ATAPS for the three former Medicare Locals with the opportunity to continue to deliver ATAPS. At a later stage, when the catchment’s population health needs are identified, SEMPHN will approach “the market” and invite prospective allied health providers to express interest in delivering services. In the interim, it is not envisaged that additional providers will be required.

ATAPS Forms and Information

ATAPS Treatment

ATAPS provides short-term, focused psychological strategies with an allied health practitioner (Psychologist, Mental Health Social Worker, Mental Health Nurse) or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker who is registered with SEMPHN to provide ATAPS treatment:

  • Clients receive 6 ATAPS sessions.
  • If recommended by the practitioner, the GP may make a second referral for a further 6 sessions. Clients may receive a maximum of 12 sessions per calendar year.
  • In exceptional circumstances a GP can make a third referral in one calendar year if a significant new mental health problem is diagnosed, or a new and significant life event impacts on the patient's mental wellbeing.

Other funding or programs should be considered for treatment of more pervasive mental health disorders.

ATAPS focuses on commonly diagnosed mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. ATAPS is also an appropriate referral pathway for other target groups as defined in the table below:


  1. Clients on a low income with a current health care card or whose financial situation would preclude them from accessing private counselling or counselling under Medicare Better Access with a gap fee are eligible.
  2. The referring GP must practice within SEMPHN’s catchment.

Referral Requirements

Standard Tier 1

Can be referred by a GP practicing in the SEMPHN catchment or paediatrician or psychiatrist. Provisional referrals can be made by allied health professionals provided that the referrer works with the GP to develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

GPs completes a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Select a provider from the Provider Directory and fax referral.

Tier 2

As for Tier 1 - Select a Provider and Fax Referral.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Can be referred from GP, Aboriginal Controlled Health Service, Alcohol and Other Drug Service, or Acute Mental Health Team.

No limit on number of sessions.


Children diagnosed with a mental disorder may be referred by a GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. The referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan should be faxed.

Children assessed as being at risk of developing a mental disorder where this causes ‘significant dysfunction in everyday life’ may be provisionally referred by a school or maternal and child health nurse may make a provisional referral however a Mental Health Treatment Plan should be prepared in consultation with a GP.

Children - Kids In Mind

(Stonnington, Bayside, Port Phillips, Glen Eira, Kingston only)

May be provisionally referred as above PLUS:

  • School Principal
  • Director of early childhood centre
  • Pre-school field officer
  • School support service officer
  • Other relevant organisation (ie Child Welfare)

Perinatal depression

Women with perinatal depression may be referred by a GP or obstetrician, or can be provisionally referred by a maternal and child health nurse. The referrer must work with a GP to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

People at risk of suicide or self harm

Where a person has been referred because they are at risk of, or have attempted, suicide or self harm, a Mental Health Treatment Plan is not required initially but should be developed by the GP within the next few weeks.

People who are affected by:

  • Extreme climatic events.
  • Forced adoption or separation.
  • Homelessness or the risk thereof, and
  • CALD community members.

GP referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People

Counselling is available in more than 13 languages


Kids in Mind

Kids in Mind is an extension of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program operating only in the Bayside area (Stonnington, Port Phillip, Glen Eira, Bayside, Kingston) and provides much-needed short-term support to children who:

  • display definite, or substantial, signs of an emerging mental disorder which causes them significant dysfunction in everyday life; or
  • are at risk of developing a mental disorder and display one or more signs or symptoms (social, emotional or behavioural) of developing a mental disorder;
  • and are covered by a Health Care Card.

Children may only be referred with their parent's or guardian's consent.

Children do not need to have a diagnosed mental, behavioural or emotional disorder to access Kids in Mind.

  • Psychologists experienced in treating children deliver an initial three sessions with a referred child.
  • The psychologist assesses, develops treatment options, and provides feedback and recommendations. Parents and other family members can attend sessions if appropriate.
  • The psychologist and the child's GP discuss the assessment, and treatment options, and further sessions may be available (to a total of six).
  • Where possible, children see a psychologist close to home.

Accessing Kids in Mind

SEMPHN receives and assesses referrals, then contacts parents/guardians and provides a psychologist's details so that the first session can be booked.

A visit to the child's GP is needed to ensure treatment can continue beyond the initial assessment. This is expected to be completed within two weeks of the first counselling session.

When booking the GP appointment, please ask for a long appointment.

SEMPHN can advise people of GPs in their area. Further sessions beyond the initial six may be available following a review by your child's GP. In most cases, a maximum of 12 sessions are available. The program is of most benefit to children with mild to moderate mental health concerns.

For more details, contact