Mental Health Stepped Care FAQs
From the 1st of April 2020, new referral pathways will be established for the stepped care approach to mental health.
Stepped care is an evidence-based approach to the delivery of mental health services.
It is characterised by a hierarchy of interventions, ranging from the least to the most intensive, matched to an individuals’ needs.
The stepped care approach gives clients the ability to step-up and/or step-down to different levels of care throughout their recovery journey.
It means the care your patients receive will be tailored to their needs.
Stepped care incorporates a range of services, ranging from mental health awareness campaigns for those in the well population, through to intensive clinical support for those living with severe mental illness, as well as services aimed at groups in need of targeted support, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities or LGBTQI people.
CCQ operates a central intake and referral line specifically for general practitioners to call and refer in their patients.
Depending on their needs, patients – later known as clients – are then connected with an appropriate mental health service provider who has been commissioned by the PHN to deliver treatment services.
The PHN’s online clinical decision tool, HealthPathways, also contains all the necessary information to assist you in determining eligibility and referral pathways. Health professionals can access HealthPathways from the PHN website.
The stepped care approach is built around integrated services that allow flexibility to move between the ‘steps’. As people move through their recovery journey, they are able to access more or less intensive services based on their need.
Intake staff will validate and acknowledge the referral with the referrer.
An appointment will be scheduled with the patient – now called a client – to undertake an assessment.
This will help determine individual needs, discuss suitable treatment options and link them with the relevant and available support services.
Referrers will then be notified about the decision made.
Mental Health Care Plans (also known as Better Access) are not affected.
Psychological therapies accessed through the stepped care approach to mental health can be complementary to Better Access, and are not designed to replace services delivered under Better Access.
Where a person has received the full allocation of sessions under the Better Access initiative, and it is considered they would benefit from some additional services, the person may be eligible for psychological therapies if they meet relevant eligibility criteria (i.e changes in financial circumstances).