Healthy Minds is a free counselling service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health concerns, and who are unable to afford services provided by mental health practitioners in private practice.
To be eligible people must fit into one of the priority groups and be currently experiencing financial distress.
Healthy Minds Priority Groups include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI).
- People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD).
- Children up to the age of 12. Children should be experiencing, or at risk of developing an emotional or behavioural disorder.
- Homelessness or people at risk of becoming homeless.
- Perinatal women from 20 weeks up until one year after giving birth. (PERI)
- People at moderate risk of suicide and/or self-harm (SPS).
Eligible people receive 12 counselling sessions (18 for Suicide Prevention Service), usually 60 mins in duration, with a mental health practitioner such as a psychologist or mental health nurse or social worker. In these sessions people are provided with strategies and techniques to manage their mental health concerns.
To improve accessibility to mental health treatment, Healthy Minds services are delivered in a variety of settings including community organisations, medical centres (including Aboriginal Medical Services) and the private rooms of mental health practitioners. In some cases, home visits are available.
Mental health practitioners include psychologists, mental health social workers, mental health nurses, mental health occupational therapists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. Healthy Minds practitioners have agreed not to charge a gap fee, thus there is no cost for the person to receive Healthy Minds services.
Healthy Minds is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, using both ATAPS (Access to Allied Psychological Services) and Better Access. This service is managed locally by the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN)
To be eligible, the person must fit into one of the priority groups mentioned above and either have an Australian Government Health Care Card or be currently experiencing financial distress and live on the North Coast of New South Wales.
Healthy Minds is for people who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other common mental health conditions.
The types of therapies provided include cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, psycho-education and relaxation strategies.
Reports for medico-legal court matters cannot be provided by the Healthy Minds service.
Healthy Minds services are available by completing a Healthy Minds referral form and returning to NCPHN by fax or email.
Referrals should be faxed to our confidential fax on 1300 853 248 or can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthy Minds Intake will then process and advise the referral organisation if unacceptable or provider if approved so then the client can be advised and appointments/further arrangements can be made.
Eligible health professionals and organisations are able to recommend that someone be referred to Healthy Minds. Healthy Minds Practitioners are unable to self-refer.
- General Practitioner
- Mental Health Nurses
- Maternal and child health nurses
- School Psychologists / Counsellors
- School Principals / Deputy Principals
- Directors of Early Childhood Services
- Hospital Accident and Emergency Department staff
- Hospital Acute Mental Health team
- Hospital ward discharge staff
- Community Support Organisations (Social Workers/Case Workers)
- Medical Officers in non-government organisations
On the referral form, a preferred Healthy Minds practitioner can be nominated from the practitioner lists at the top of this page.
Alternatively, NCPHN can select an appropriate practitioner for the person seeking psychological support dependent on locality and practitioner clinical interests.
When suicide is the prime mental health concern, referrals can be made to the Healthy Minds Suicide Prevention Service (Using SPS Referral Form). The service provides intensive support for a six-month period with up to 18 sessions. People can access this service without a mental health treatment plan in place but must visit their GP for a mental health treatment plan within 3 months of referral. Eligible people can then be stepped across to one of the Healthy Minds Priority Groups or continue care under Better Access (Medicare).
In line with standard processes, a progress report from the mental health practitioner should be provided, supporting a K10+ after six sessions, and may include a recommendation for an additional six sessions.
Community organisations are often well placed to identify people who could benefit from psychological support. Community organisations with a Healthy Minds practitioner on-site are able to complete an application for a referral. Other community organisations that would benefit from having a mental health practitioner on-site should contact the Healthy Minds team using the contact details below.
For all general enquiries regarding referrals or becoming a Healthy Minds Practitioner, please call 1300 137 237.