Accessing Community Mental Health Services

The Mental Health Line (1800 011 511) can put you in touch with your local mental health service.

For information on ’How to get someone an assessment’, visit our website here.

Every person discharged from a mental health ward in a public hospital must be followed up within seven days.

Ask the hospital staff which health service will follow up the person after discharge.

Information about local community mental health services can also be found on the webpage of your local health district.

Community Mental Health Teams

Community mental health services provide care to people who are living in the community alone, with their family or carer, or in supported accommodation. These services are provided free by the state government through the Local Health District or Specialty Health Network.

Many people accessing community mental health services have been discharged from a mental health ward of a hospital. However, these services are also available to people who have not needed hospital care.

Some people attending a community health service will be on a Community Treatment Order.

For information on ’Carers and Community Treatment Orders’, visit our website here.

Some community mental health services have both an ‘assessment team’ and ‘treatment teams’. The assessment team (crisis team or acute care team) provides assessment and intensive short-term treatment.

The Treatment teams provide continuing care and may be divided into specialist teams such as assertive outreach, children and adolescence, child and family, older people, aboriginal mental health, and adults, etc.

Following assessment, a person may be provided with a case manager or care coordinator who is responsible for coordination of the care provided through the service.

Ask for the contact details of the case manager/care coordinator and how they will discuss care and treatment with you.

If you are the ‘designated carer’ or ‘principal care provider’ of the person attending the community mental health centre, they must include you in care planning unless it is not possible to do so.

For information on ‘Carer Rights’, visit our website here.

Community Mental Health Services Functions

Community Mental Health Services provide:

  • Mental health assessments/care planning.
  • Crisis intervention and support.
  • Support, case management and treatment using a range of therapies.
  • Coordinated care between carers, GP, community-based service, housing, and other support services.

Community Based Organisations

Community-based organisations are different to community mental health services but work closely with them.

Many community-based organisations provide their free services, but some may charge a fee. They provide a number of different functions, such as (and not limited to):

  • Accommodation support and outreach Employment and education
  • Family and carer support Helpline and counselling services Leisure and recreation
  • Promotion, information, and advocacy Self-help and peer support

You can look for local community-based services on the WayAhead Directory.

The Mental Health Coordinating Council is the peak body for community-based services in NSW.

You can read about consumers and Carers Rights in Chapter 9 of the Mental Health Coordinating Council.

The Family and Carer Mental Health Program provides support for families and carers around NSW. They are closely linked with mental health services provided by Local Health Districts.

You can find the closest Family and Carers Mental Health Program service here.

How can GP’s Help?

General Practitioners work with the community mental health team and other support services in the community.

Some people may find that consultations with the general practitioner are sufficient, and they don’t need to continue to visit the community mental health service.

It is important that you, and the person you care for, develop a good relationship with a general practitioner.

You can ask the person’s GP to develop a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Where You Can Find More Information

Search Mental Health Carers NSW

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up to receive the Mental Health Carers NSW weekly newsletter.