Head to Health mental health hubs: more help, support and access to best care
Head to Health provides advice and a welcoming place for everyone who needs mental health and wellbeing support. It is available to all Victorians of all ages, regardless of whether their mental health issues are pre-existing or emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head to Health is the extra help GPs may need to manage the increased number of people seeking mental health support.
Head to Health provides care navigation, access to a multidisciplinary mental health team at the hubs and a team-care approach, to complement and supplement GP care.
Call 1800 595 212 to speak to the Head to Health intake team.
Primary Health Networks are taking a staged approach to ramping up the multidisciplinary teams within hubs. With your help, we are developing a more connected mental health system that will give people the extra support they need, during the pandemic and beyond.
To find out more about the Head to Health, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for general practitioners and information for service providers. These cover intake and hub services, and how Head to Health interacts with your existing use of and referral to CAREinMIND™ and other services.
Please note, Head to Health is not a crisis service and patients requiring immediate care or crisis intervention should be managed through the local mental health triage or 000 if there are immediate safety concerns.
The Head to Health hubs are now open at more than 20 locations across Victoria. The three hubs in our region are:
- Broadmeadows – DPV Health
42/48 Coleraine Street, Broadmeadows
- Wyndham Vale – IPC Health
510 Ballan Road, Wyndham Vale
- Brunswick East – Clarity Healthcare
3/55 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East
Watch our Head to Health videos to learn more
Head to Health is part of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network building a better-connected mental health system in the community. Head to Health is a collaborative initiative of the Victorian Primary Health Networks and funded by the Australian Government.
Victoria’s six Primary Health Networks were funded by the Australian Government to set up 15 HeadtoHelp hubs to support GPs by providing extra mental health services during the pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the funding on 17 August 2020 and directed that the hubs open by 14 September 2020. Primary Health Networks had less than one month to consult, design and open effective mental health hubs that will support, integrate and build on the existing state and federally funded mental health service system. This short deadline meant we were unable to consult with and engage local GPs and others to the usual extent.
We worked with the Victorian and Australian Governments, the Victorian Mental Health Taskforce and local services, analysing various data to determine the hub locations. Due to the short timeframe and the needs of the model of care, providers were determined through a limited expression of interest campaign. Providers had to have capacity, including systems and workforce, in place for an operational multidisciplinary team by 14 September 2020.
On 8 August 2021 Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt announced an extension to the funding. 12 of the Victorian HeadtoHelp hubs (now Head to Health), including all 3 in our region, are now funded until 30 June 2022. The model of care established by HeadtoHelp and 1800 595 212 intake number are now also being used for Head to Health hubs in NSW and the ACT.
On 16 December 2021 HeadtoHelp became Head to Health. Transition to the Australian Government’s broader Head to Health initiative brings Victoria into alignment with services recently established in NSW and the ACT. Other than rebranding, there is no change to the way Head to Health hubs will operate.
For providers, GPs and other referrers
Who is it for?
The service supports Victorians of any age experiencing distress or mental ill health, as well as their families. This includes:
- people who have never accessed mental health services before, and their family and friends
- people in aged care, their family and friends
- those ineligible for Medicare, including refugees, people seeking asylum, international students, those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
How does it work with my existing mental health patients and CAREinMIND?
You can still refer eligible patients to CAREinMIND™ and you don’t have to change how you refer patients to CAREinMIND.
The Head to Health intake team may refer eligible patients to CAREinMIND services and other existing services, including those in the NWMPHN System of Care.
Head to Health intake staff will ensure there is no duplication in your patient’s treatment and services with existing providers.
How to access Head to Health
GPs and other health professionals can refer patients to Head to Health. No referral or mental health plan is needed in the first instance.
We ask that you do a friendly transfer to the Head to Health service using the 1800 595 212 intake number.
People can either call Head to Health on 1800 595 212, or go directly to a local hub – although calling the intake number first is strongly preferred.
Access to hubs will not be restricted by the location of the person.
Where are the hubs?
Head to Health services are available in more than 20 locations across Victoria. Three of them are in North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network’s region in Wyndham Vale, Brunswick East and Broadmeadows.
Head to Health is not a crisis service. Services currently operate from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
If all intake team members are engaged, callers during business hours can leave a message to be called back. After-hours callers will hear a recorded message providing the Beyond Blue number for immediate help. The message also invites callers to call back during Head to Health opening hours.
What to expect
When you call Head to Health, an experienced mental health professional will work with you, or your patient, to assess their needs and connect them with the most appropriate services, which may include the new mental health hubs or existing services.
In most cases, people will be connected to an existing service, online mental health support service or other community mental health services.
In all cases people will be strongly encouraged to connect with their regular GP or will be helped to find a GP.
People may also be connected to aligned services such as alcohol and other drugs services, family violence services and specialist and support services.
In all cases, people will be strongly encouraged to connect with their regular GP, or will be helped to find a GP.
Intake and assessment
Intake and assessment will be performed by Head to Health team members on the 1800 595 212 line or direct at a hub.
Team members will use the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) decision support tool and the Initial Assessment Domains tool to perform intake and inform the level of care required. People with level 1 and 2 needs will be connected with existing lower intensity services. Those with level 3 and 4 needs may receive care at the hubs, either onsite or through telehealth, or other more suitable services. Level 5 will be connected to specialist or acute mental health services, including into emergency care or into an area mental health triage.
Hub services and staff
If there is no appropriate service for a person, the hub can provide telehealth and onsite mental health support through multidisciplinary teams. We are expecting to focus on people with level 3 and 4 needs as determined by the Initial Assessment and Referral tool (see above).
The Head to Health hubs, as they are scaled up, will include multidisciplinary teams of mental health workers, including psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and alcohol and other drugs workers, who will coordinate with the patient’s regular GP – or help them find a regular GP. Most hubs will not have a psychiatrist on-staff, as this is not supported by the funding model.
A team-based approach
We encourage the use of shared care plans, and you will be informed of the outcomes of all your referrals. If your patient needs a mental health treatment plan to access other mental health services, a Head to Health team member will be in contact with you.