North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) will be commissioning new psychosocial support services in 2019 to assist people with severe mental illness.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can provide support to people with psychosocial disability, but there are people with severe, episodic mental illness who may not be eligible for the NDIS.

The new psychosocial support services, to be funded by the Australian Government utilising the National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure and Continuity of Support (CoS) funding in 2019, are intended to address the needs of people who are not eligible for the NDIS and who may ‘fall through the gaps’.

What do we mean by ‘psychosocial support’?

Psychosocial support can assist people with severe mental illness to participate in their community, manage daily tasks, undertake work or study, find housing, get involved in activities, and make connections with family and friends. Psychosocial supports are specific to the person and their needs.

New funding for psychosocial supports

New psychosocial support services will be commissioned by NWMPHN in 2019 utilising new funding streams:

 NPS Measure for people with severe mental illness who:

  • have reduced psychosocial functional capacity
  • are ineligible for the NDIS
  • are not clients of Partners in Recovery, Day-to-Day Living, and Personal Helpers and Mentors (PIR, D2DL and PHaMs) programs

 CoS services for people with severe mental illness who:

  • have been clients of PIR, D2DL and PHaMs programs
  • are ineligible for the NDIS

Additionally, the State of Victoria has recently announced new psychosocial support funding to assist people with severe mental illness who are either not eligible for the NDIS or yet to transition to the scheme.

National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure funding

Three Victorian Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are working collaboratively to develop and commission new psychosocial support services across their regions:

  • North Western Melbourne (NWMPHN)
  • Eastern Melbourne (EMPHN)
  • South Eastern Melbourne (SEMPHN)

Purpose of the NPS measure funding

The NPS measure will provide psychosocial support services to assist people with severe mental illness resulting in reduced psychosocial functional capacity who are not eligible for assistance through the NDIS.

There are no age restrictions on this initiative.

Focus of the NPS

  • Building capacity and connectedness at times when it is most needed
  • Shorter-term psychosocial support
  • Regional, stepped care approach
  • Flexible and integrated service delivery
  • Link to clinical services and care coordination

Delivery of new psychosocial support services

NPS-funded psychosocial support services are intended to be implemented by early 2019.

PHN goals

The goal of the three Melbourne PHNs, working collaboratively, is to develop consistent approaches for the co-design and commissioning activities for psychosocial support services.

The PHNs have worked together to:

  • Develop an Activity Work Plan for the NPS
  • Deliver a regional psychosocial supports co-design forum for stakeholders
  • Undertake stakeholder focus groups to inform psychosocial support service design and delivery
  • Develop a needs assessment for their regions

Stakeholder learnings

Stakeholders have told the PHNs about a potential range of outcomes to be achieved for consumers requiring psychosocial supports. These can include:

Service features:
  • Regular clinical care/case management
  • Practical and timely supports
  • Choice (for example: type of support and who delivers it), flexibility, control
  • Information and options
  • Culturally aware services
  • Support from peer workers
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Safety
Services that support people to achieve:
  • Stable mental health
  • Improved physical health
  • Emotional stability
  • Connection to community, family and friends
  • Secure employment
  • Stable housing
  • Education and skill building
  • Enjoyable activities
  • Financial stability
  • Stability in parenting
  • Reduced/safer substance use

Findings from the psychosocial support services co-design forum

NWMPHN, SEMPHN and EMPHN held a major stakeholder forum, Getting it right: National Psychosocial Support Measure Co-design Forum, on 4 September 2018 at Melbourne Museum.

The forum was attended by 80 PHN stakeholders from the mental health sector, Local Hospital Networks, government and community health, together with mental health consumes and carers.

 Read the ‘Conversation Tracker’ forum report.

Next steps for the Melbourne PHNs

Continuity of Support (CoS) funding

Continuity of Support, commencing 1 July 2019, provides funding to support PIR, D2DL and PHaMs participants who are ineligible for the NDIS. Consumers will receive CoS funded services when PIR, D2DL and PHaMs programs cease in mid-2019.

CoS-funded services will be designed to align closely with NPS-funded services. The PHNs do not yet have guidelines for the development and delivery of CoS-funded services, but it is anticipated that these services will be a combination of psychosocial supports and service coordination.

Further information about CoS will be published on this website at a later date.

For more information about psychosocial supports, or to contribute feedback to service design, please contact:

Eastern Melbourne PHN

Simon Jones
(03) 9046 1210

South Eastern Melbourne PHN

Elise Pointer
(03) 8514 4443 or

North Western Melbourne PHN

Kieran Halloran
(03) 9347 1188