Commonwealth psychosocial support programs for people with severe mental illness

People with severe mental illness may need extra support with their day-to-day living. Read about the psychosocial support program we fund to help people with severe mental illness.

About the programs

In July 2021, the new Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program replaced the:

  • National Psychosocial Support Transition program
  • Continuity of Support program for psychosocial support
  • National Psychosocial Support Measure.

The psychosocial support program helps people with mental illness who need short-term help to function day to day. The program offers one-on-one and group support activities to help people with severe mental illness:

  • connect with clinical care and other services they need
  • build capacity in managing day-to-day activities
  • strengthen social skills, friendships and relationships with family
  • increase educational, vocational and training skills.

Support for people with severe mental illness is available through this program, if they are not with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or a state and territory-funded service.


    The Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program aims to:

    • help people with severe mental illness get the support they need to recover, build skills to live independently and contribute to their communities
    • reduce demand on more intense and acute health services
    • use our health system effectively.

    Who we work with

    The Australian Government funds Primary Health Networks (PHNs). PHNs commission community-based organisations to run services under the Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program. These organisations tailor their services to meet the needs of the community and clients.

    We fund Flinders University to help PHNs and service providers. Read more about the Flinders University Transition Support Project.

    PHNs also 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 ran an independent review of the previous psychosocial support programs:

    • National Psychosocial Support Measure
    • Continuity of Support Program for psychosocial support

    They assessed the programs against the following goals:

    • implemented as planned
    • achieved their goals
    • meets the needs of clients, their families and carers
    • is evidence-based
    • is cost-effective.

    The evaluation consulted over 500 clients, carers and family members. Responses about the support provided through the programs were positive. Read the Final Report and Appendix A.

    These findings helped secure a $171.3 million investment in the 2021-22 Budget, as part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. This funding will support the Commonwealth psychosocial support services for 2 years (until 30 June 2023), under the single program. 

    The findings will also inform long-term reforms.


    For more information, contact or your local Primary Health Network.

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