Stepped Care Principles

Stepped Care is defined as an evidence based, staged system comprising a hierarchy of interventions, from the least to the most intensive, matched to the individual’s needs. The goal of a stepped care approach is to ensure the right level of treatment is available to meet individual needs, at the point in time the they require the treatment.

The ACT Primary Health Network (ACT PHN) has been funded by the Department of Health to commission evidence based, integrated psychological intervention services to meet the needs of the ACT population – which are set within a stepped care framework.

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan encourages regional Mental Health planning within a stepped care framework. Recognising that different proportions of the population will experiene different levels of need with respect to Mental Health services.

ACT PHN has developed an approach to Mental Health services in a stepped care framework through sector wide consultations with consumers, carers, service providers and sector stakeholders. This consultation combined with the assessment of local area needs through the PHN Local Area Needs Assessment has resulted in the development of a suite of programs designed to address areas of unmet need within the ACT Mental Health Service sector. The approach to Stepped Care service delivery undertaken by The ACT PHN is outlined in Table 1.

Table 1.

Capital Health Network Stepped Care Approach

ACT PHN has commissioned external service providers to deliver programs and services across each of these areas. To read more about the individual program areas, please follow the links below:

Step 1: Recognition

Step 2: Mild to Moderate

Step 3: Moderate to Severe (incorporating Services for young people with or at risk of developing a severe mental health condition, Children under 12, services for underserviced groups)

Step 4: Severe Diagnosis, Persistent

Step 5: Complex, Acute, Long Term

  • ACT PHN works in collaboration with ACT Health to step people up to these services and ensure system integration.