Western Victoria PHN



Western Victoria PHN commissioned APMHA HealthCare Ltd. to deliver mental health services that align with the National Mental Health Reform. These services are available in the local government areas listed below and focus on a stepped, needs-based primary mental health care approach, also known as a Stepped Model of Care.

For further resources, please view the Western Victoria PHN website.

Services Available

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1. Psychological Therapy Services (PTS)

PTS provides free short term face-to-face psychological services to eligible clients who have been identified as underserviced and/or hard to reach.

This service offers support in the following three categories:

Category A: General Evidence-based, short-term psychological interventions (up to 10 sessions) for individuals with a diagnosable mild to moderate, mental illness.

Category B: Children Evidence-based, short-term psychological interventions (up to 10 sessions) for children (up to 12 years of age) with or at risk of, developing a mental illness.

Category C: Suicide Prevention Evidence-based, short-term psychological interventions for people who have attempted, or who are at risk of suicide or self-harm. No formal diagnosis is required. Individuals are entitled to up to 10 sessions over 2 months and are then moved to the most appropriate service stream. Service streams would be considered on a case by case basis and options include Category A, STEPMI Program or Better Access.

Download the documents below to learn more about this program:

PTS is a complementary program to Better Access (Medicare subsidised psychological services). The GP will need to assess whether Better Access or to PTS is more appropriate based on the clients circumstances. While these programs cannot be accessed at the same time,  approval can be requested to access a secondary referral pathway if all sessions from the first referral pathway have been utilised.

2. Services and Treatment for Enduring and Persistent Mental Illness (STEPMI)

STEPMI provides free therapeutic interventions and coordination of clinical services for eligible individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.

This service offers support to those that tick the following clinical criteria;

  • Has an enduring and persistent mental illness
  • Has a documented plan for the clinical management of their mental health
  • Is unable to access similar services through other funding sources
  • Will require clinical care coordination for at least 12 months
  • Has been admitted to or been an outpatient of acute mental health services within the past 12months, OR are at risk of requiring inpatient admission without STEPMI intervention
  • Has not received case-management from acute mental health services
  • Consumers cease to be eligible when they no longer meet the residential or clinical criteria.
3. Residential Aged Care Service: Older Minds Mental Health Program

The Older Minds Mental Health Program is a regional pilot that has commenced in Warrnambool, Geelong, Stawell and Ballarat. APMHA HealthCare has been commissioned to provide Psychological Therapy Services (PTS) to support the mental health needs of people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). This service allows residents of registered RACFs to access mental health services available to those in the community. Delivered by Psychologists, Mental Health Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Mental Health Occupational Therapists.

Areas of service

PTS is available in all Western Victoria PHN regions under APMHA HealthCare.

STEPMI is available under APMHA HealthCare in:

Great South Coast: City of Warrnambool, Corangamite Shire, Glenelg Shire, Southern Grampians and Moyne Shire.

Wimmera Grampians: City of Horsham, Hindmarsh Shire, Northern Grampians Shire, Rural City of Ararat, West Wimmera Shire and Yarriambiack Shire.



Patients who are considered low income, unable to access Medicare, living in rural locations, CALD (new settlers), Aboriginal &/or Torres Strait, homeless or those at risk of homelessness are eligible to receive services. Children, adolescents, individuals who have attempted, or are at risk of suicide or self-harm are also eligible to receive services.

How do I refer?

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Referral pathway for PTS
Step One.

The Referral and GP Mental Health Treatment Plans (including K10+) are to be completed with the patient and faxed to Referral Point on 1300 260 814. 

GPs can access GP Templates for this referral pathway here. They can also contact Referral Point on 1300 221 493 or referralpoint@westvicphn.com.au.

Step Two.

Referrals are triaged and allocated to APMHA HealthCare. We then aligns an appropriate PTS registered mental health professional to the patient. The mental health professional will then contact the patient for an appointment.

Step Three.

The GP is then contacted by the mental health professional to confirm that services have commenced or to discuss any barriers to treatment that have occurred.

Please Note: Should a referral be declined, the referring GP will receive communication from Referral Point. This communication will include any reasons why the referral is not appropriate for PTS or to clarify any gaps in patient information.

Referral pathway for STEPMI
Step One.

Complete the Referral Form and GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (GPMHTP) and call APMHA HealthCare on 1300 514 811 whilst the patient is still with you. This allows us to confirm eligibility with you. 

Step Two.

Once eligibility is confirmed, the following steps will be taken:

  • Information will be gathered to ascertain which program is most suitable for your patient.
  • We will let you know if there are any anticipated waiting times for your patient and provide recommendations/treatment options if waiting times apply.
  • We will give you a referral ID number which will need to be noted on the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan.
  • We establish our team approach with you.

Please Note: If the patient is not eligible, we will provide you with referral options that are best suited for your patient.

For the treating GP, this means that you can have:

  • Confidence that your patient is connected into the right service
  • Advice and ongoing support when it comes to accessible mental health pathways
  • Patient follow up and secondary consultation, if required
Step Three.

Fax the GPMHTP and consent form to the APMHA HealthCare Central Intake Line on 03 9376 0317