Youth Mental Health

In any given year, one in four young Australians experience at least one mental disorder. 
(Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011)

Given the serious, long-lasting impacts that mental health disorders can have, both on young people and those around them, it is critical that effective mental health interventions and services are in place and that they are relevant and easily accessible for young people (as well as those who care for and support them).

By intervening early, improving knowledge about mental health and encouraging help-seeking behaviour, it may be possible to circumvent the long-term detrimental effects of mental health disorders into adulthood.

South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) commissions primary mental health services within a person-centred stepped care model. Our mission is to provide youth-friendly services that are responsive to the varying mental health needs of young people and their families.

We promote the importance of working in collaboration with young people accessing mental health support to improve their social, personal and occupation life throughout their recovery journey.

This results in targeted community mental health services for young people who may require early intervention support through to integrated care for young people experiencing, or at risk of, severe mental health difficulties or requiring a ‘step-up’ into or ‘step-down’ from public youth mental health services. This is referred to as our Mental Health Stepped Care Model.


headspace is an enhanced primary mental health care model, with a focus on early intervention and prevention.
All headspace centres are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and administration of funding is carried out locally by Primary Health Networks.

SEMPHN works closely with our local headspace centres, lead agencies and consortia partners in our region, in supporting continuous quality improvement, improving service accessibility and ensuring integration with broader health programs and SEMPHN commissioned services to achieve better health outcomes for young people.

Why is this service needed?

headspace centres act as a one-stop-shop to meet the unique needs of young people aged 12 - 25 and those who support them. The four core streams – mental health, physical (including sexual) health, alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support, offering young people ‘wrap-around’ services at no or low-cost fee.

At a headspace centre, young people can access help from a range of health professionals such as a doctor, psychologist, social worker, counsellor, occupational therapist, youth worker, alcohol and drug worker, or Aboriginal health worker.

Centres are designed not just for young people, but with them, to ensure they are relevant, accessible and meet the needs of young people and their families locally. As a result, no two headspace centres are the same, with each centre offering unique services that reflect the needs and services of its local community.

Who have we commissioned?

SEMPHN commissions multiple providers to operate six headspace centres across the region:

headspace Early Psychosis

headspace Early Psychosis offers specialist support to young people aged 12 to 25 who are experiencing, or at increased risk of developing psychosis.

headspace Early Psychosis focuses on early intervention, aiming to prevent disruption in a young person’s life and lessen the duration of untreated psychosis.

The program offers intensive integrated services including case management for young people and their families for up to five years. Families and carers of young people are involved in an equal partnership of care in order to achieve outcomes tailored to their needs and preferences.

headspace Early Psychosis is based on the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) model developed by Orygen Youth Health.

Check out this short video about how the headspace Early Psychosis Program is benefiting young people.

The program provides young people and their families with:

  • evidenced-based early treatment with a multidisciplinary team
  • psychological interventions
  • psychiatry support
  • GP services
  • comprehensive recovery programs
  • assertive outreach services
  • after hours and crisis support
  • vocational support
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • exercise physiology
  • youth and family peer support
  • youth and family participation
  • health and wellbeing education through the Discovery College

Who have we commissioned?

Alfred Health operates the headspace Early Psychosis across South Eastern Melbourne.

headspace Early Psychosis is an enhancement of the headspace primary platform and operates out of the five headspace centres in the region.

To access headspace Early Psychosis services contact the Intake team on (03) 9076 9400 or click here for more information.

Enhancing Mental Health Support in Schools (EMHSS) Program

To support school communities to effectively identify and intervene early with the mental health needs of children and young people, the Victorian Government announced the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative (VABMHI) in early 2018.

The Enhancing Mental Health Support in Schools (EMHSS) program provides mental health services to all 327 government secondary schools across Victoria.

Why is this service needed?

The program offers support to school communities to effectively respond to their students’ mental health concerns and recognises that early identification and response will increase their chances of more positive educational, developmental and wellbeing outcomes.

The EMHSS program comprises of:

  • Face-to-face counselling services
  • A regional Telephone Service for students of rural and regional schools located too far away from a headspace centre (DET commissions this service component through eheadspace).

The program is targeted to provide Victorian school students with early access for mild to moderate mental health issues. headspace clinicians will provide counselling to students, within a safe space at their closest headspace centre or school.

Access to the EMHSS program is facilitated by targeted DET Secondary Schools to their local headspace centre.

Commissioning approach

The Department of Education has funded all Victorian PHNs to deliver face-to-face counselling support services through headspace centres from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2022.


BounceBack assists young people aged 12 - 25 who are experiencing severe and complex mental health difficulties which require a flexible and medium-term service within a primary care setting.

Why is this service needed?

The service provides case management, care coordination and psychological therapy to young people and their families.The BounceBack team provides tailored support and care which includes family and peer support.

These services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team including mental health clinicians, psychiatry, family and peer workers.

BounceBack provides a flexible and goal-directed service, with a focus on understanding and improving the young person’s physical and mental health as well as their functional recovery. BounceBack services can be provided in the community where the young person is most comfortable, as well as in an office-based location.

Who have we commissioned?

BounceBack is delivered by:

 Access to Psychological Interventions (API)

Accessible Psychological Interventions (API) services include a range of short-term psychological interventions delivered by Mental Health professionals.

These sessions are available in individual, family and group formats that are matched to people’s needs.

Young people and their families can access API through SEMPHN’s Access and Referral service (1800 862 363). Further information on the API service can be found here

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