Mental health problems and mental illness are common and the social and economic impacts of mental ill health are significant. People living with mental illness are at greater risk of adverse health outcomes compared to the general population.
Capital Health Network (CHN), through the ACT PHN Program, has adopted a stepped-care approach to the commissioning of mental health services to the ACT region and works in partnership with the mental health services sector to deliver a range of services that meet areas of identified need in the ACT.
Mental Health Services
Mental health services contracted include:
- Stepped care – Next Step
- Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Suicide prevention
- Child and youth specific services
- Services for people with severe and complex needs
- Services for underserviced groups
- Psychosocial supports.
The Canberra Head to Health Centre provides free mental health support for Canberrans without the need for a referral or appointment. Support is available for people experiencing distress or mental ill health as well as their family and friends. The Canberra Head to Health Centre can also help to connect you to the right type of support to meet your individual needs. Click here for more information.
Stepped Care – Next Step
Mental health care within a stepped care approach is central to the services contracted by CHN. In a stepped care model a person seeking support receives services matched to their needs on entry and throughout their journey through the service. Provided by CatholicCare, Next Step is a free program for people experiencing mild, moderate and severe mental health issues. Services are offered across a continuum by a trained clinical and non-clinical workforce. Benefits of the Next Step program include:
- free access and support for people who are unable to access other funded services where cost is a barrier
- evidenced-based structured intervention based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
- online, telephone and face to face services in various locations across the ACT
- referrals accepted by individuals, GPs and other health care professionals.
For further information and referral call (02) 6162 6111 or visit
Services for children and young people
headspace Canberra provides early intervention mental health services to young people aged 12-25 years and is designed to support young people access the help they need for problems affecting their wellbeing, including:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Study and work support
- Alcohol and other drugs
For further information and referral please call (02) 6113 5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young people accessing the Next Step program receive age-appropriate services matched to their needs including depression, anxiety, school refusal and grief and loss. Services provided through the program include:
- Individual evidenced-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs provided by mental health professionals and mental health coaches
- Cool Little Kids – a group program for parents and carers of children aged 3-6
- Cool Kids – a group program for children aged 7-9 years and their parents
For further information and referral please call (02) 6162 6111. Referrals for individual therapy must be completed by a GP, Paediatrician or Psychiatrist.
Meridian Wellbeing Services – Psychological and Stepped Care Support Services
This program supports the LGBTIQA+ community, aged 16 years and over, by offering psychological interventions by a psychologist and emotional and social support through the provision of comprehensive assessment and structured support plans. Meridian is a peer-led and community-controlled health service. Meridian is currently accepting referrals for the services.
For more information on the program please visit: https://meridianact.org.au/
Contact: (02) 6257 2855 or 0412 882 855, or email Wellbeingservices@Meridianact.org.au.
A current GP Mental Health Care Plan is required to access this service.
Psychosocial support for people with mental illness
Psychosocial supports services funded by the PHN National Psychosocial Support Measure Program are available for people who are experiencing significant mental health challenges in everyday life. Supports available include:
- Managing symptoms of mental health
- Getting relationships back on track
- Becoming involved in social or community activity
- Engaging with education, employment or volunteering
- Building life skills including confidence and resilience.
Psychosocial support services are available for people who meet the following criteria:
- Aged 18-64
- Live, work or study in the ACT
- Are experiencing significant mental health challenges that impact on their psychosocial functioning
- Do not receive supports through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
For further information and referral to PHN funded psychosocial support services please contact the following service providers directly.
New Path is an early intervention mental health recovery program supporting people whose ability to manage daily activities and to live independently in the community has been seriously affected by mental health issues. New Path typically see people aged 18 to 35, but will accept referrals of people up to 64 years of age.
For further information and referral please call (02) 6282 2644. Email: email@example.com
Bloom Healthy Living provides support to people aged 18 to 64 via qualified mental health and peer workers who provide regular support. Mental health workers provide one-on-one supports to assist in building life skills, including maintaining mental health, engaging in learning, employment, education or volunteering, and managing finances.
For further information and referral please call 1300 779 270.
Multicultural Mental Health Support Services
Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (‘The Embrace Project’) is run by Mental Health Australia with funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and provides a national focus on mental health and suicide prevention for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
A Framework for Mental Health in Cultural Australia is a free nationally available resource which has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements.
Further information can be found at www.embracementalhealth.org.au, or by contacting Embrace via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (02) 6285 3100.
Emergency or Crisis Services
The PHN-funded programs do not provide emergency or crisis services. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call the ACT Health Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or (02) 6205 1065 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Helplines and Online Support Services
- Head to Health Popup ph. 1800 595 212
- Head to Health
- Access Mental Health Team ph. 1800 629 354
- Lifeline 24/7 Crisis Line ph. 13 11 14
- Kids Help 24/7 Support Line ph. 1800 551 800
- Mensline 24/7 Support Line ph. 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service 24/7 Support ph. 1300 659 467
- QLife Counselling and referral service for LGBTI people 3pm-12am ph. 1800 184 527
- Alcohol and Drug Consultation and Liaison Service, Canberra Health Services 24/7 Helpline ph. (02) 5124 9977
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service 24/7 Crisis Line ph. (02) 6280 0900
- Beyond Blue 24/7 Support Service ph. 1300 224 636
- Black Dog Institute
- Mindspot Clinic ph. 1800 614 434
- SANE Australia ph. 1800 187 263