Mental health

SEMPHN co-ordinates primary mental health care across the region and commissions services to address the mental health needs of our community.


Commissioning approach

In line with the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s review of programs and services, primary mental health throughout Australia is undergoing reform. This is designed to ensure a greater emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of the local community, addressing service gaps and achieving better local health outcomes.

Individuals with mental illness will be able to access a broader range of treatment and support services as part of an Australian Government initiative to offer more flexible care options.

SEMPHN is commissioning services to support people with mild, moderate and severe mental health needs. These services range from peer-support, to  brief psychological interventions, to individual packages of care. The new services form part of a new 'stepped' treatment approach with care tailored to individual need and illness severity.


Mental Health Stepped Care Model

SEMPHN consulted with a range of stakeholders over the past 12 months to develop a Stepped Care Model.  

  • Mental Health Roundtable and Consumer/Carer forums in early 2016.
  • An evidence-based Mental Health Needs Assessment.
  • Further interviews and feedback from consumers and carers
  • Peer review to review the development of an outcomes framework to support a high quality stepped care model.
  • Stakeholder forum in late November 2016 that included providers, advocates, consumers and carers.

Our Stepped Care Model brochure and Stepped Care Model video give an overview of the model.

You can also see a recording of our Stepped Care Model event on 10 October, 2017.


What's happening with existing and new services?

Funding for local mental health services hasn’t significantly increased, so expanding access to care has meant changing our approach - introducing new services, expanding some existing services and closing others. These changes are being implemented in stages to minimise disruption for consumers and clinicians, and communicated in advance.

  • Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS): Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS): ATAPS is being phased out and replaced by the new Accessible Psychological Interventions (API). From November 1 2017, all referrals for mild-moderate mental health services must be made through SEMPHN Mental Health intake by either fax (9793 9052) or phone (1800 862 363 – business hours).
  • Headspace funding is extended to June 2018, during which time services will be better integrated with other mental health programs.
  • headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP): SEMPHN has re-contracted the current provider of hYEPP services – Alfred Health – for the FY16/17 period. SEMPHN is reviewing the model to identify opportunities for better integration with other youth mental health and general mental health services in the region and how this model integrates with a stepped model of care.
  • Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP): MHNIP funding finishes on 31 December 2017. Current MHNIP clients may be transitioned into the new Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services, discharged, or referred to other services, as appropriate for their needs. 
  • Partners in Recovery funding is extended to 2019 by which time services will have transferred to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

See more information about mental health for general practice and health professionals.

You can also watch our five-minute webinar (recorded 16/10/17) that answers health professionals' frequently-asked questions about the new services and changes.


Information sessions for current ATAPS and MHNIP Providers

Sessions were held on 23 March, 29 March and 6 April 2017 in different parts of the SEMPHN catchment.

The information sessions covered changes to the ATAPS and MHNIP programs, and a broad picture of the way primary mental health services will be delivered in our catchment, in line with SEMPHN’s Stepped Care Model. Our Stepped Care Model brochure gives an overview of the model.

Consultations included:

  • A recording of the ATAPS provider session in Dandenong on 6 April can be viewed here. The slides can be viewed here.
  • A recording of the MHNIP provider session in Dandenong on 6 April can be viewed here. The slides can be viewed here.

A question and answer document containing collated responses from the three sessions can be found here. Questions are now closed.


Tender information session for Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services

The information session held on 11 May, 2017 was an opportunity for potential tenderers to understand service requirements for Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services.

  • A recording of the session covering the context/background, SEMPHN’s Stepped Care Model, data, funding and reporting  can be viewed here.
  • A recording of the session covering API service specifications, the tender process, the response process, next steps and the  Q&A can be viewed here
  • The slides can be viewed here.

Tender information session for Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services

The information session held on 20 June, 2017 was an opportunity for potential tenderers to understand service requirements for Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services.

  • A recording of the session covering the context/background, SEMPHN’s Stepped Care Model, funding and data reporting can be viewed here.
  • A recording of the session covering MHICC service specifications, the tender process, the response process, next steps and the Q&A can be viewed here
  • The slides can be viewed here.

Current and upcoming commissioning opportunities

Tenders to deliver services are announced via our SEMaphore newsletter and on this website as they are released. Tenders will be announced throughout the two year implementation phase.

Click here to receive tender announcements and updates by email. You can unsubscribe at any time.

SEMPHN uses Tenderlink to manage the procurement process. If you think you might be interested in applying for SEMPHN tenders, register your interest on SEMPHN's Tenderlink page. Select the registration tab to register. Once you register, you’ll receive information about the tender as it’s released.Any questions relating to the tender need to be submitted via Tenderlink once the tender goes live.

Key Documents


Commissioning opportunities awarded

Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) Services

Five organisations will deliver new Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services in eight of ten South Eastern Melbourne PHN local government areas:

  • EACH (Casey, Greater Dandenong)
  • Life Works (Glen Eira, Frankston)
  • FMC Mediation and Counselling Victoria (Kingston)
  • Mentis Assist (Mornington Peninsula)
  • Star Health (Port Phillip, Stonnington).

Developed in line with mental health reform across Australia and SEMPHN’s Mental Health Stepped Care Model, APIs:

  • are flexible services to support people with mild to moderate mental illness
  • include a range of short term psychological interventions
  • are for people who have a health care card or can’t afford/access similar services
  • are especially designed for people from hard-to-reach population groups
  • can be delivered in individual, family or group formats.

API services will start from 1 November 2017 and are funded until mid-2019, with referrals received via SEMPHN's new Mental Health Intake.

The Commissioning Process

An open tender process was used for the commissioning of Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services. Applicants registered via Tenderlink were invited to apply by responding to a series of questions, which were assessed against a set evaluation criteria by an evaluation panel. Following assessment, the panel reached consensus in relation to the preferred provider.

Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services 

Four organisations will deliver new Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services across the South Eastern Melbourne PHN catchment:

  • Mentis Assist (Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Mornington Peninsula)
  • Star Health (Bayside, Glen Eira, Kingston, Stonnington)
  • First Step (Port Phillip)
  • Mind (Dandenong)

Developed in line with mental health reform across Australia and SEMPHN’s Mental Health Stepped Care Model, MHICC services:

  • are flexible services to support people with severe/complex mental illness
  • can include clinical nursing services, family support and liaison, care co-ordination and liaison (clinical and non-clinical) and improving access to psychiatrist and psychological care
  • are for people who have a health care card or can’t afford/access similar services, and aren’t eligible for NDIS and Partners in Recovery (PiR).

MHICC services will start from 1 December 2017 and are funded until mid-2019, with referrals received via SEMPHN's new Mental Health Intake.

The Commissioning Process

An open tender process was used for the commissioning of Mental Health Integrated Complex Care (MHICC) services. Applicants registered via Tenderlink were invited to apply by responding to a series of questions, which were assessed against a set evaluation criteria by an evaluation panel. Following assessment, the panel reached consensus in relation to the preferred provider.

Low Intensity Mental Health Services

Beyondblue was successful in receiving funding to deliver low intensity mental health interventions in Dandenong – an area of high mental health need.

Beyondblue will deliver a multifaceted service offering peer support to people with, or at risk of, experiencing mild mental illness. This will be done via a pilot of the following initiatives from March 2017 to June 2018:

  • A telephone and email based support helpline
  • Peer training, education and support sessions
  • A peer online forum
  • A website portal with access to digital resources

The Commissioning Process

An open tender process was used for the commissioning of Low Intensity Mental Health Services funding. Applicants registered via Tenderlink were invited to apply by responding to a series of questions, which were assessed against a set evaluation criteria by an evaluation panel. Following assessment, the panel reached consensus in relation to the preferred provider.

More information

To hear about future commissioning opportunities, subscribe to our Commissioning Newsletter SEMaphore and register via Tenderlink here.

For general information or queries about commissioning, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Funding Opportunities

Tenders, Quotes & Expression of Interest Portal

If you’re interested in applying for funding opportunities, register your interest on SEMPHN's Tenderlink page. Once you register, you’ll receive information as it’s released.

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Events and Education See all

Training

Fellowship Preparation: KFP

External events
Saturday, 25 November 2017
9:00 - 15:00
Wantirna Health
General Practitioner

See event

Contact Information

Need help with Commissioning?

For more information about commissioning, please call 1300 331 981 (option 1) or email commissioning@semphn.org.au

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