In September 2020, the Australian Government provided funding to Victorian PHNs to establish 15 HeadtoHelp Hubs across Victoria as an emergency response to provide additional mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic.
This unique model of care was jointly developed by Victoria’s PHNs in collaboration with the Australian Government. PHNs are primarily funded by the Australian Government to improve health care, and support people receive from health services.
From 31 December 2021, HeadtoHelp services are being rebranded Head to Health as part of the broader Head to Health initiative and to align with the ‘pop up’ services recently implemented in NSW and the ACT. The intake phone number remains unchanged – 1800 595 212.
The Victorian Head to Health central intake and hubs are operated by PHNs (Primary Health Networks) in cooperation with existing health services.
The Head to Health model draws upon insights from consultations conducted by PHNs with people with lived experience of mental illness, consumers, clinicians and other experts. Head to Health is person-centred, recovery oriented and evidence-based, reflecting PHNs’ commitment to these principles. Head to Health comprises a central phone intake and mental health services located across Victoria.
Head to Health uses the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) – this is a series of clinical and social questions help the trained intake team understand a person’s needs and what type of support or services will best help. A caller may be referred to existing services or if there is no existing service that is suitable, to one of the Head to Health services which offer a multidisciplinary team to help with more complex mental health needs.
Head to Health is a unique service and the first state-wide step towards integrating the mental health system and coordinating care for people, when and where they need it most.
All Head to Health services are provided free of discrimination based on age, race, gender identity, sexuality, religious or political belief or activity or any other characteristic possessed or assumed as protected under Victorian and Australian anti-discrimination law.
Advice and services provided by Head to Health hubs are offered free to all Victorians. Head to Health may, however, provide advice and refer people to support and/or services that require payment of a professional fee. These services are not included in the no-cost service provided by Head to Health.
The Australian Government established PHNs (Primary Health Networks) to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services, reduce fragmentation of care and improve health outcomes for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable.
PHNs achieve this goal by improving access to existing services, commissioning new services to improve health outcomes, and supporting GPs and others to innovate and further improve local health care. There are 31 PHNs across Australia, with six in Victoria.