Accessible Psychological Interventions

Flexible support for people with mild to moderate mental illness 

What are API Services?

Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services include a range of short term psychological interventions. These are available in individual, family and group formats and are matched to people’s needs.

Interventions include:

  • cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • skills training
  • psycho-education
  • relaxation strategies
  • other evidence-based interventions.

API services can be delivered by clinical psychologists, psychologists, mental health social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses.

Who are API services for?

API services are for people who:

  • Live or work in the SEMPHN catchment, and
  • Have a health care card or can’t afford or access similar services. 
  • have an assessment and diagnosis of mild-moderate mental illness* (except for children under 12 or people at risk of suicide), such as mild depression or anxiety, and
  • are expected to benefit from the provision of API services.  

*If a person does not have a confirmed diagnosis, an assessment will be conducted and a clinical diagnosis determined by the API provider confirming eligibility for the service.

Referrals for API services are particularly encouraged for people in the following groups:

Priority groups

Eligibility criteria

Children under 12 The consumer is aged under 12
People living in residential aged care facilities The consumer resides in an aged care facility
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people The consumer self-identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
People experiencing homelessness The consumer falls into one of the following categories of homelessness: marginally, tertiary, secondary or primary.
People at risk of suicide The referral source indicates that the consumer is at risk of suicide
Culturally and linguistically diverse people The consumer was not born in Australia, and has poor levels of spoken English
Women with perinatal depression The referral source indicates that the consumer has perinatal depression
People with substance use disorders The referral source indicates that the consumer has substance use disorders and a mental illness
People who have experienced family violence The referral source indicates that the consumer has experienced family violence

Who can refer to API services?

Referrals can be made by anyone including GPs and other primary health providers, schools, social services, other organisations and self-referral. 

How to refer to API services

GPs can fax referrals and GP Mental Health Treatment Plan to 9793 9052 or call 1800 862 363 for priority assistance.

Referrals can be made to:

  • SEMPHN Mental Health Intake phone (business hours only): 1800 862 363 
  • Fax: 9793 9052

Referral forms (including medical software templates) are available on the SEMPHN Mental Health Intake page. Other referral forms are accepted if they contain the required information.

Consent is needed for clients to receive services. 

API services do not provide after-hours or emergency mental health advice or support.  In case of emergency, call 000.

More information

Background to mental health changes 

SEMPHN plays an important yet limited part in the primary mental health system.

In line with mental health reform across Australia, SEMPHN released its Mental Health Stepped Care Model in 2016. 

The model was informed by:

  • findings of the National Mental Health Commission’s review
  • evidence-based best practice
  • consultation with stakeholders including consumers, health professionals and service providers
  • extensive data analysis.

We are using the Stepped Care Model to guide the commissioning of new flexible services in our region for people with mild/moderate and severe/complex mental health needs.

Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) and the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) will be phased out by early 2018.  

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