Psychosocial supports

Psychosocial supports

South Eastern Melbourne PHN (SEMPHN) will be commissioning new psychosocial support services in 2019 to assist people with severe mental illness.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can provide support to people with psychosocial disability, but there are people with severe, episodic mental illness who may not be eligible for the NDIS.

New psychosocial supports, to be funded by the Australian Government under the National Psychosocial Support (NPS) measure and Continuity of Support (CoS) service in 2019, are intended to address the needs of people who are not eligible for the NDIS and who may otherwise ‘fall through the gaps’.

What do we mean by ‘psychosocial support’?

Psychosocial support can assist people with severe mental illness to participate in their community, manage daily tasks, undertake work or study, find housing, get involved in activities, and make connections with family and friends. Psychosocial supports are specific to the person and their needs.

New funding for psychosocial supports

New psychosocial support services will be commissioned by SEMPHN in 2019 under the:

  • National Psychosocial Support (NPS) measure for people with severe mental illness who:
    • have reduced psychosocial functional capacity
    • are not being supported by NDIS
    • who are not clients of Partners in Recovery, Day-to-Day Living, and Personal Helpers and mentors (PIR, D2DL and PHaMs) programs or Continuity of Support

  • Continuity of Support (CoS) service for people with severe mental illness who:
    • have been clients of PIR, D2DL and PHaMs programs
    • are ineligible for the NDIS

Additionally, the State of Victoria has recently announced new psychosocial support funding to assist people with severe mental illness who are either not eligible for the NDIS or yet to transition to the scheme.

National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure

Three Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have agreed to work collaboratively to develop and commission new psychosocial support services across their regions:

  • Eastern Melbourne (EMPHN)
  • North Western Melbourne (NWMPHN)
  • South Eastern Melbourne (SEMPHN)

They are guided by the NPS measure Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victoria.

Purpose of the NPS measure

The NPS measure will provide psychosocial support services to assist people with severe mental illness resulting in reduced psychosocial functional capacity who are not eligible for assistance through the NDIS. There are no age restrictions on this initiative.

Focus of the NPS

  • Building capacity and connectedness at times when it is most needed
  • Shorter-term psychosocial support
  • Regional, stepped care approach
  • Flexible and integrated service delivery
  • Link to clinical services and care coordination

Delivery of NPS services

NPS services are intended to be delivered from early 2019.

PHN goals

The goal of the three Melbourne PHNs, working collaboratively, is to develop consistent approaches for the co-design and commissioning activities for the NPS.

  • Develop an Activity Work Plan for the NPS
  • Deliver a regional NPS co-design forum for stakeholders
  • Undertake stakeholder focus groups to inform NPS design and delivery
  • Develop a needs assessment for their regions.

Stakeholder learnings

Stakeholders have told the PHNs about a potential range of outcomes to be achieved for NPS consumers. These can include:

Service features:

  • Regular clinical care/case management
  • Practical and timely supports
  • Choice (for example: type of support and who delivers it), flexibility, control
  • Information and options
  • Culturally aware services
  • Support from peer workers
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Safety

Services that support people to achieve:

  • Stable mental health
  • Improved physical health
  • Emotional stability
  • Connection to community, family and friends
  • Secure employment
  • Stable housing
  • Education and skill building
  • Enjoyable activities
  • Financial stability
  • Stability in parenting
  • Reduced/safer substance use

Findings from the NPS co-design forum

EMPHN, SEMPHN and NWMPHN delivered a major stakeholder forum, Getting it right: National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure Co-design Forum, on 4 September 2018 at Melbourne Museum.

The forum was attended by 80 PHN stakeholders from the mental health sector, Local Hospital Networks, government and community health, together with mental health consumers and carers.

Read the ‘Conversation Tracker’ forum report.

Next steps for the Melbourne PHNs

Conversation Tracker

  • Confirm the principles of NPS service offerings
  • Confirm commissioning approach
  • Clarify commissioning requirements

For more information about the NPS, or to contribute feedback to its design, please contact:

Eastern Melbourne PHN Stuart Wilson
(03) 9046 0352
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South Eastern Melbourne PHN Elise Pointer 
(03) 8514 4443
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North Western Melbourne PHN Kieran Halloran
(03) 9347 118
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Continuity of Support (CoS) Services

About Continuity of Support

Continuity of Support (CoS) services, commencing 1 July 2019, will be designed to support PIR, D2DL and PHaMs participants who are ineligible for the NDIS. They will receive CoS services when PIR, D2DL and PHaMs programs cease in mid-2019.

CoS services will be designed to align closely with NPS services and may even be delivered by the same organisations.

The PHNs do not yet have guidelines for the development of CoS services, but it is anticipated that these services will be a combination of psychosocial supports and service coordination.

Further information about CoS will be published on this website at a later date.

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