National psychosocial support programs for people with severe mental illness
People with severe mental illness might need extra support with their day-to-day living. Read about the psychosocial support programs we fund to help people manage their mental illness, strengthen relationships with family and friends, and take part in social activities and work.
About the programs
People whose mental illness severely affects their ability to function day-to-day can benefit from support that meets their individual needs.
Psychosocial support services offer both one-on-one and group support activities to help people with severe mental illness to:
- build skills to manage their mental illnesses
- develop social skills and friendships
- build relationships with family
- build capacity in managing day-to-day activities
- manage money
- find and look after a home
- increase educational, vocational and training skills
- address drug and alcohol use issues.
People with severe mental illness who are not accessing psychosocial supports through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or state and territory-funded services can get support through:
- the National Psychosocial Support Measure
- the National Psychosocial Support Transition program
- the Continuity of Support program for psychosocial support.
The Primary Health Networks (PHNs) deliver these programs, tailoring them to the needs of their communities and clients. They also help clients find and apply for the psychosocial support program that suits them.
Goals of the programs
The 3 psychosocial support programs aim to:
- make sure people with severe mental illness who are not accessing NDIS or state and territory-funded psychosocial support services get the support they need
- reduce demand on more intense and acute health services
- ensure we use our health system as effectively as we can.
The National Psychosocial Support Measure
The National Psychosocial Support Measure provides psychosocial support services for people with severe mental illness who:
- have a mental health condition that affects their day-to-day functional capacity, or ability to manage the social and emotional aspects of their lives
- are not accessing psychosocial supports through the NDIS
- were not previously accessing Partners in Recovery, Support for Day to Day Living, or Personal Helpers and Mentors – these clients can access the National Psychosocial Support Transition or Continuity of Support programs.
PHNs implement this measure in a flexible way to meet the needs of the local community, and complement psychosocial support services funded by the state and territory governments.
Services provided include one-on-one or group level supports. They focus on building capacity and skills to help people:
- manage their mental illness
- improve their relationships with family and others
- increase their social connectedness and economic participation.
National Psychosocial Support Transition
The National Psychosocial Support Transition Program supports people who were accessing Partners in Recovery, Support for Day to Day Living or Personal Helpers and Mentors on 30 June 2019, and are:
- yet to apply for an NDIS package
- waiting to hear whether their NDIS application has been successful
- ineligible for the NDIS, but have not yet moved to the Continuity of Support program.
Through this program, clients can continue to access psychosocial supports, as well as assistance to test eligibility for the NDIS until 30 June 2021 when the program ends.
Continuity of Support
The Continuity of Support program provides flexible and responsive psychosocial support to people who are not eligible for the NDIS and previously accessed services under:
- Partners in Recovery
- Support for Day to Day Living
- Personal Helpers and Mentors
- National Psychosocial Support Transition.
Services available include one-on-one support at times of increased need, and group activities that build capacity and life skills, and promote social connectedness and wellbeing.
Activities may include:
- walking groups
- mindfulness and meditation groups
- community events
- cooking classes
- sport and exercise activities
- creative writing classes
- conversation/language groups
- excursions to local attractions.
NDIS Transition Support Project
Flinders University provides support to PHNs and provider organisations to manage their psychosocial support programs.
Read more about the Flinders University Transition Support Project.
Who we work with
The Australian Government funds 31 PHNs to deliver these support services.
PHNs work with state and territory governments to plan and commission these services to meet the needs of each region.
Evaluation of the programs
The Nous Group is evaluating the Continuity of Support and National Psychosocial Support Measure programs.
It is looking at whether the programs are:
- achieving their goals
- meeting the needs of clients, their families and carers
- cost effective.
This will give us evidence to:
- improve how we fund and deliver psychosocial support services and programs
- improve access to services for clients with severe mental illness
- help guide the future of the National Psychosocial Support Measure
- add to our evidence base for our broader mental health system reforms.
More information about state and territory-funded psychosocial support can be found at:
- Australian Capital Territory – Capital Health Network
- Northern Territory – Housing Accommodation Support Initiative
- Tasmania – Shaping new psychosocial support services
- Queensland – Queensland mental health service
- Western Australia – Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission.
This agreement sets out the agreed approach between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments to progress the National Psychosocial Support Measure.
For more information, contact your local Primary Health Network.