Launceston Head to Health

The Australian Government is funding a trial of eight adult mental health centres across Australia, to be known as Head to Health centres, with one to be established in each state and territory.

Launceston has been chosen as the location for the Tasmanian centre, which will aim to improve access to mental health and related support services for Tasmanians in the local area; connect care; and reduce demand on hospital emergency departments.

It will be a welcoming, safe, and easy-to-identify entry point for adults in distress or crisis who need immediate care, support or information.

Primary Health Tasmania (Tasmania PHN) will be responsible for establishing the Launceston centre.

Please be advised Primary Health Tasmania does not deliver health services or crisis support. You can find a list of available helplines at the bottom of this page.

What kind of service will be available at the centre?

The centre will complement – rather than replace or duplicate – services already provided in the community by connecting people with other local services for ongoing care.
It will provide a welcoming entry point to the mental health system for adults:

  • looking for information/advice regarding their or someone else’s mental health
  • needing short and/or medium-term care while awaiting longer-term care
  • seeking immediate help in times of crisis or distress.

The centre will provide short- to medium-term support (a few weeks to a couple of months) based on clinical judgement and individual need, while helping people access longer term care if needed.

There will be no charge, and appointments won’t be needed.

Beyond these broad principles, it’s really up to the feedback collected during the consultation process to determine what the centre will offer within the scope of the Australian Government’s national service model framework – an overarching guide given to all the communities setting up centres as part of the trial.

Get involved

If you’d like to stay in the loop about this project, please go to our Engagement portal.

It comes after Primary Health Tasmania organised the stakeholder information session in December 2020 to:

  • provide an overview of the initiative and what it aims to achieve
  • outline next steps and timelines
  • provide details about the upcoming consultation process, and begin collecting initial insights.

You can download our presentation from the night, outlining the project in more detail, here.

You can read a summary document of the ideas and suggestions put forward by attendees here.

This session was just the first in a series of consultation workshops – if you’d like to flag your interest in the 2021 sessions, please get in touch via this email.

Who will work there?

The centre will be staffed by a multidisciplinary workforce, that may include:

  • peer support workers
  • mental health nurses
  • psychologists
  • social workers or other allied health professionals with mental health competency
  • care navigators
  • alcohol and other drug workers
  • Aboriginal health workers.

What needs to happen before the centre can open?

Primary Health Tasmania is leading consultation to collect feedback and insights from community members, service providers and other stakeholders about what they want from a local adult mental health centre.

This feedback will be used to finalise a service model that is designed to meet the community’s specific needs within the parameters of the national service model framework.

Primary Health Tasmania will also work with key stakeholders to find an appropriate premises for the centre and, through a tender process, a ‘lead agency’ to deliver the centre services on an ongoing basis. Once appointed, the lead agency will be responsible for recruiting the appropriate staff to manage the centre and deliver centre services.

A tender process to select a lead agency for the centre is underway.

What will the consultation cover?

Certain features of the adult mental health centres have already been prescribed by the national service model.

Local consultation will inform other aspects of the centre. This includes things like the types of supports that should be co-located in the centre, and the factors that will affect consumers’, carers’ and providers’ experiences at the centre – such as layout and a philosophy of care model.

Three Tasmanian groups will also help provide advice on development and ongoing delivery of the Launceston centre:

  • A steering group will provide high-level direction and support to ensure the centre is integrated within broader sector reform and service delivery; facilitate access to relevant networks; and help address any issues and barriers identified during development and implementation
  • A reference group – with membership drawn from Launceston organisations and people with lived experience – will help the lead agency develop, design and establish the centre. This group will help ensure a local focus and ownership and to help facilitate partnerships for in-reach and referral
  • A local clinical advisory group – with membership drawn from Launceston-based clinicians with mental health expertise – to help inform the service design and delivery, triage and referral pathways in and out of the centre and to identify and address issues in relation to establishment and ongoing service delivery.

When will the centre open?

The new centre is expected to open in late 2021. This will come after the period of community consultation (February-April 2021), and recruitment and preparation of the lead agency that will operate the centre (May-October 2021).

Need help?

Primary Health Tasmania does not deliver health services or crisis support.

Your regular doctor should always be your first point of call if you need medical or mental health care.

In an emergency, call Triple 0 (000) for Ambulance, Fire or Police.

For information about health services open at night, public holidays and weekends, visit the Tas After Hours website.

The following helplines are also available for urgent assistance:

  • Mental Health Services Helpline 1800 332 388
  • Lifeline Crisis Help 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling (after hours) 1800 811 994
  • Poison Information Centre 13 11 26.

People who are supporting someone living with mental illness may also want to find out more about these organisations: