Types of service providers
There is a mix of mental health service providers in Australia that offer different types of support. It can be helpful to understand how they differ when finding your way through the system.
The Australian Government funds mental health services in different ways. This includes:
- funding for appointments with doctors and specialists via Medicare
- funding for medications through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- funding services through Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
- headspace centres for young people
- Head to Health adult mental health centres, which offer free, on-the-spot support, care, and advice without needing a referral or appointment
- funding for digital mental health services and other supports.
PHNs are independent organisations that help manage a region's primary healthcare (healthcare outside a hospital). They provide funding to a range of mental health services in their local area.
State and territory-funded services
State and territory governments provide mental health services in the public sector. This includes specialised care across hospital, community, and home services. They also provide more general services that benefit people with mental health challenges. This includes hospital emergency departments and accommodation with in-house support for people with severe or chronic mental illness.
Most people with mental health challenges access mental health services through their general practitioner or Primary Health Networks (PHNs), but people who are seriously affected by their illness can be referred to the specialist mental health service system in each state or territory.
Call a number below to find mental health services in your state and territory:
ACT: 1800 629 354 – Mental Health Triage Service
NSW: 1800 011 51 – Mental Health Line
NT: 1800 682 288 – Northern Territory Mental Health Line
QLD: 1300 MH CALL (1300 642255) – 24-hour specialist mental healthcare
SA: 13 14 65 – Mental Health Triage Service
TAS: 1800 332 388 – Mental Health Service Helpline
WA: 1800 676 822 – Mental Health Emergency Response Line
These include services managed by organisations such as charities and community groups. They support people living with mental health challenges. This could be with daily living activities or managing isolation. They often provide support groups or short-term support programs. Many are open to people dropping in for support. They tend not to offer assessment and treatment for mental health disorders.
You can usually find information about local community services through your local PHN, or via your state or territory health website:
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
An ACCHO is a primary healthcare service run by the local Aboriginal community in an area. They provide culturally appropriate healthcare to their community with a holistic approach. This includes mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services.
There are now 144 ACCHOs across Australia.
Private services are not funded by the government and require you to self-fund your treatment or use private health insurance. They may be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, and other allied health professionals.