Explaining mental health services and programs
If you or someone you know has a mental health problem, Victoria has several places where you may get advice, information, and referrals for both general and mental health issues.
Mental health support
Suppose you are experiencing an emergency, dial triple zero (000) for assistance. If you’re on your phone, dial 112 to reach emergency services.
Immediately available referrals
The Acute Community Intervention Service (ACIS) may be contacted by the police, ambulance staff, or a doctor for people who require rapid mental health assistance. The ACIS, formerly known as a crisis and assessment or ‘CAT’ team, can provide:
- Over the phone, you can get help, advice, and referrals.
- In a hospital emergency department, patients are assessed and treated.
- therapy in a person’s residence
The program is offered 24 hours a day and is based out of Victoria’s area mental health services. Locate a mental health service in your area.
Adult mental health services are available.
People with significant mental illnesses can be treated in Victorian hospitals. Still, community mental health facilities, private psychiatric services, and other specialized clinics are also available for those who require more extensive care.
Adult mental health services include:
- ‘Acute inpatient wards’ in public hospitals provide treatment for both voluntary and compulsory patients.
- Services and teams in the community Acute Community Intervention Service (ACIS), community care units (CCUs), Prevention and Recovery Care services (Parcs), and outpatient clinical treatment are examples of services that bridge the gap between in-hospital care and living in the community.
- Non-government organizations operate Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS), which provide assistance with daily tasks and allow people with severe and enduring mental illness to live successfully in the community.
Children and adolescents’ mental health services
Children and adolescents up to 18 are eligible for professional mental health treatments provided by the Victorian government.
Depending on their needs, young people between the ages of 16 and 18 may be treated by a child and adolescent mental health service or an adult mental health service. Services provided include:
- In a clinic setting, clinical evaluation, and therapy
- Patients and their families get consultation, support, and assessment from consultation and liaison psychiatric services, typically found in pediatric inpatient wards. Patients will have medical conditions (such as cystic fibrosis or leukemia) accompanied by psychological problems.
- Acute inpatient programs provide short-term evaluation and treatment for severe emotional problems that cannot be adequately examined or treated safely and effectively in the community.
- The Statewide Child Inpatient Unit assesses and treats children under 13 who are experiencing major emotional, behavioral, or relationship issues.
- Autism evaluations provide diagnostic evaluations for children with major developmental abnormalities like autism. Some services also include community consultation and interaction and connecting children and their families to community resources, such as school help.
- Day programs provide comprehensive therapeutic and educational support for young people with behavioral challenges, emotional disorders such as severe depression or anxiety, personality issues, or major mental disease.
- Ongoing intensive youth outreach programs provide comprehensive outreach mental health case management and support to teenagers experiencing considerable and long-term psychological distress and more complex needs such as challenging at-risk and suicidal behaviors.
- School-based early intervention programs (conduct disorder programs) provide early intervention and preventative services to lower the prevalence and effect of conduct disorder.
Private mental health services are available.
Your doctor can recommend local mental health services or refer you to a community psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health expert for up to six sessions to begin with it. You may be eligible for a Medicare rebate if your doctor refers you to a psychiatrist, albeit the number of visits qualifying for a Medicare rebate is limited.
Suppose your psychiatrist determines that you require more extensive therapy. In that case, they can advise you and help you find the best appropriate service, such as community mental health programs, residential clinics, and hospitals.