Western Victoria PHN


Western Victoria PHN commissioned APMHA HealthCare 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 Mental Health Model of Care.

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.

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. Older Minds Mental Health Program for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF)

The Older Minds Mental Health Program is a regional service, focusing on RACFs in Geelong, and Ballarat. APMHA HealthCare has been commissioned to provide Psychological Therapy Services (PTS) to support the mental health needs of people living in RACFs. This service allows residents of registered RACFs to access mental health services available to those in the community. The program is delivered by Psychologists, Mental Health Social Workers, Credentialed Mental Health Nurses and Mental Health Occupational Therapists.


Patients who are considered low income, unable to access Medicare, living in rural locations, CALD (new settlers), Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 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 WVPHN’s 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 align 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.

Areas of service

PTS is available in all Western Victoria PHN regions under APMHA HealthCare. This PHN covers a region of 79,843 square kilometres encompassing 21 local government areas.

image: westvicphn