Level 4 and 5 Care: High Intensity, acute and specialist community mental health services – for people with a combination of diagnoses and level of impairment including psychoses, severe depression and other disorders that are:

  • Severe and episodic – episodes of acute illness are followed by periods of remission in which symptoms are largely absent and normal functioning may be resumed. Specialist treatment will be required which may include inpatient care and access to psychosocial support services for limited periods.
  • Severe and persistent – ongoing mental illness with significant impairment of psychosocial functioning, such as the ability to maintain independent living and engagement in the community. Ongoing specialist treatment and some level of psychosocial support services are likely to be required.
  • Severe and persistent requiring multi-agency responses – requiring more intensive responses involving input from a range of health and community services, including:
    • Care coordination
    • Comprehensive treatment responses delivered by multidisciplinary teams within public specialist mental health services
    • Comprehensive physical health care
    • Significant levels of assistance from psychosocial support services and
    • Access to services provided by a range of other government and community agencies.

High intensity and specialist mental health services emphasise:

  • Personal control and choice
  • Improving access to primary mental health care to maximise and prevent escalation
  • Clinical and psychosocial support and stable housing encouraging meaningful activity, connection to and participation in community
  • Coordination and integration with assistance to navigate the system
  • Single electronic health record and care planning
  • Providing wrap-around and coordinated care for people with complex needs

Relevant services include:

  • High intensive team-based specialist mental health:
  • Assessment and referral
  • Treatment, care and support (e.g. psychological therapies, individual support and recovery and relapse prevention planning, clinical rehabilitation and pharmacotherapy)
  • services (inpatient, outpatient and residential, in home and community-based)
  • with involvement from a range of different mental health professionals including care coordinators, psychiatrists, allied health workers, and GPs
  • Crisis services, including suicide prevention, peer warmlines and crisis help lines
  • Sub-acute e.g. step up step down residential recovery programs
  • Supported accommodation and housing support
  • Psychosocial support services and community supports such as employment and income support programs, peer support, support groups, daily living support, social participation or lifestyle interventions
  • Multi-agency services
  • Advocacy services
  • Programs for people with severe mental illness provided through Primary Health Networks e.g. High Intensity Service, Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program, New Path, Continuity of Support and Transition to Recovery
  • A recovery coach through the NDIS

Some people with severe mental illness are also receiving ongoing psychosocial disability supports through the NDIS.

A significant and growing number of people with severe mental illness are also treated in primary care. For many people with severe mental illness, especially those where the illness is persistent, integrated service models are required, which coordinate care across:

  • specialised mental health
  • physical health
  • psychosocial support and
  • other community services.

Primary health services help address the high levels of physical illness and increased mortality experienced by people with severe mental illness. Next Step provides a number of targeted programs for people whose lives are severely impacted by mental illness.

Key Resources:

  • Specialist mental health services in the ACT – provided by Canberra Health Services and can be accessed by referral from a GP or by contacting Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065.
  • Next Step – Next Step is a free program for people experiencing mild, moderate and severe mental health issues. Next Step Coaching Services in the ACT are offered by CatholicCare.
  • Reimagine.today – an online resource to help people with psychosocial disability, their carers and families access and use supports under the NDIS
  • MindMap – the ACT Youth Mental Health Portal, provides navigation and service information for people aged under 25. Access the website, call 1800 862 111 (between midday and 11pm) or arrange a call back.
  • Feros Care – the Local Area Co-ordinator for the NDIS in the ACT. You can contact them on 1300 986 970, by email at feroslac@ndis.gov.au or drop into their office each Friday at 4/2-6 Shea St, Phillip.
  • Richmond Fellowship – supports individuals living with a mental illness through NDIS services, including a residential recovery program and mentor service in Canberra, Queanbeyan and Goulburn.
  • The Mental Health Foundation ACT – is an NDIS provider which offers supports in accommodation, employment, personal assistance, personal wellbeing activities and life skills.
  • Carers ACT – can help if you support someone with a mental illness who may be eligible for NDIS but are unsure of how to proceed. Call 6296 9900.