Mental health

South Eastern NSW has high rates of mental and behavioural disorders and psychological distress amongst adults, with a greater burden borne by Aboriginal people and those living in rural areas.

Mental health is a key priority area at COORDINARE. You can read our Health priority: Implementing a stepped care approach to mental health and suicide prevention statement for more information. 

For details about the mental health needs in our region, please refer to our Needs Assessment

To access a list of eMental Health resources, click here.

COORDINARE values the stories of real people with lived experience of mental health issues. You can read their stories here

Implementing a stepped care approach

A “stepped care” approach to mental health is needed to improve the system. Stepped care is a staged system of options that match an individual’s needs, ranging from the least to the most intensive. For more details, read the 10 stepped care principles. You can also read the Commonwealth Government's stepped care implementation guide for PHNs.  

The multiple levels of a stepped care approach offer a spectrum of service options, allowing an individual to access the right service to meet their needs at the right time, in the right place, to maintain their wellness, or to support their recovery back to wellness.

For more details on COORDINARE's Integrated Primary Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (Stepped Care) approach, click here.

Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

COORDINARE has undertaken a comprehensive review of mental health and suicide prevention services across the region. We consulted with consumers, carers and service providers and found:

  • an inequitable distribution of primary mental health services across the region
  • high rates of hospitalisation for self-harm, particularly for Aboriginal people and young people
  • increasing rates of mental health related hospitalisation overall.

As a result, we have been working with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) to develop the Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, which is set to bring about positive change for local consumers, their families and carers.

The regional plan identifies nine priority areas against which key actions are identified that involve working together across the health system, and with consumers and other stakeholders to provide better integrated care for people with mental illness.

For more information, download the South Eastern NSW Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.


COORDINARE has commissioned five headspace - National Youth Mental Health Foundation centres across the Southern Eastern NSW region, located in Wollongong, Nowra, Goulburn, Queanbeyan and Bega Valley (the latter opening in mid-2018).

headspace services are unique in their orientation, the range of services they provide, and the youth-friendly environment in which they deliver mental health care to young people aged 12-25.

Funding has been guaranteed for these services until July 2019. For more information about the headspace centres, see COORDINARE’s recent media announcement

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health services

COORDINARE has contracted the four Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations in our region to provide culturally safe mental health services and community capacity building for their communities, including:

Psychological therapies

COORDINARE funded the following organisations from 2017 to 2018 to provide psychological therapies for at-risk populations: 

  • Grand Pacific Health – to provide individually tailored, flexible psychological therapies primarily through face-to-face consultations across the entire South Eastern NSW region
  • Royal Far West – to provide telehealth mental health services to children aged 0-15 years and their families in Southern NSW.

About Grand Pacific Health (GPH)

Grand Pacific Health (GPH) is one of the main primary care service providers in the South Eastern NSW region. GPH's key aim is to improve health outcomes for the South Eastern NSW community by addressing gaps in primary health care services.

Services in the region are targeted to the needs of specific communities, with a focus on suicide prevention. These communities include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; families in the perinatal period; children and their families; people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community; and culturally and linguistically diverse populations. 

About Royal Far West

Royal Far West is a specialist provider of multi-disciplinary child development services dedicated to rural children and their families, and a national leader in the provision of mental health and allied health services via technology. Royal Far West supports children with a range of developmental, behavioural and mental health difficulties, from early intervention to intensive support for children with complex developmental issues and/or from complex family backgrounds.

This new service for Southern NSW provides a tele-mental health model using telecare. Telecare helps to effectively support rural children and families, particularly for those in isolated locations, where there are workforce shortages, or a lack of available, affordable or effective services.

Complex mental health

COORDINARE funded the following organisations to provide support for complex mental health needs from 2017 to 2018:

  • Grand Pacific Health – to provide mental health nursing support and peer worker support to people with complex mental health needs for the Illawarra and Southern NSW region
  • Shoalhaven Family Medical Centres – to provide mental health nursing support to people with complex mental health needs through all general practices in the Shoalhaven region.

The Next Steps program 

The Next Steps program aims to improve the supports available to people following a suicidal crisis. In Southern NSW, this program is funded by COORDINARE. In the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region, the program is made available via the NSW Ministry of Health’s Suicide Prevention Fund. You can read a consumer story about the Next Steps program here

All referrals to the Next Steps program are made via the Local Health Districts (LHDS), with the program designed to support those individuals who: present to an acute setting but following assessment, decline or do not require ongoing care from the community mental health and inpatient settings.  

Allied mental health professionals and peer workers collaborate with consumers and their carers, friends and family to develop an Aftercare Plan, which builds in the professional and social supports that will reduce the risk of future suicide. Trained and clinically supervised peer workers will then support consumers in achieving this plan, including linking the person with community, family and service supports.

The plan may include linking the person with mental health treatment services, but this service is not a treatment service. Each person’s case is reviewed 4 weeks after the planning meeting, after which time, the service may be extended for up to 12 weeks. Carers, family and friends are also offered one-off sessions in how they might best support their loved one at this time. The service is offered from Wollongong, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Moruya and Bega hubs.

Bushfire Recovery Psychological Support Service 

COORDINARE is funding free and confidential mental health support for residents of Tathra and Districts affected by the bushfires. 

Registered mental health professionals in the Bega Valley region can provide this service by joining COORDINARE's provider list. To do this, you can download the registration form and email it to Louise Roser at

To find out how this service can benefit consumers, visit our Consumer Support Services page. 

Need help?

Your GP should be your first point of contact or there are a range of crisis services you can access if you need urgent care, including:

Lifeline - 13 11 14 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

beyondblue - 1300 22 4636 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

QLife - 1800 184 527 (3pm to midnight, 7 days a week)

For other useful helpline services, please click here.

Please note: If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.