About the program

This program funds Primary Health Networks to engage culturally appropriate, evidence-based mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In many areas, local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services deliver these services, which are tailored to meet the individual needs of the local population.

Services include, but are not limited to:

  • psychological therapies
  • complex mental health support
  • case management
  • clinical care coordination.

They also complement and link to other activities, like drug and alcohol services, suicide prevention and broader social and emotional wellbeing services.

Why it is important

Mental health is responsible for 10% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

A long history of trauma, grief, loss and cultural disconnection means mental health issues can be complex. This requires culturally appropriate support that recognises the connection between physical health, mental health, spiritual needs and social and emotional wellbeing.

Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health is a key priority area in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Goals

The program aims to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access culturally appropriate mental health support where they live, when they need it.

Meeting our goals

Primary Health Networks:

  • work with local health networks and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and leaders to engage culturally appropriate mental health services
  • make sure services meet the individual needs of communities and different age groups, including children and young people
  • make sure services provide complete support, including for complex needs
  • provide clear referral pathways to other services, like drug and alcohol services, suicide prevention and social and emotional wellbeing services.

Who we work with

We fund the Primary Health Networks who engage the organisations that deliver the mental health services. These are often Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Learn more

Primary Health Networks (PHN) primary mental health care guidance – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health services

This guidance document provides advice for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) on planning and commissioning mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Contact

Find a Primary Health Network service near you.

Last updated: 
25 October 2021