Psychological Strategies (formerly known as ATAPS)

Flexible mental health support

Psychological Strategies (formerly known as ATAPS) is an Australian Government program that was developed to improve the health outcomes of low income and disadvantaged people with mental health issues in the community. Introduced in 2001, Psychological Strategies is part of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care Program, and was developed to deliver short term, goal orientated, focussed psychological strategies to individuals with common mental disorders of mild to moderate severity. It is important that people referred to this program are likely to respond to short term interventions. 

New Mental Health Stepped Care Model

EMPHN is transitioning to a new Mental Health Stepped Care Model in line with reform Australia-wide, which PHNs are leading.

As part of the transition, the programs of Mental Health Nursing Services (formerly MHNIP) and Psychological Strategies (formerly ATAPS) will come to an end starting in the north east of EMPHN's catchment from January 2018.

Visit our Stepped Care Model webpage for information including transition timelines and arrangements.

Resources

Psychological Strategies

Psychological Strategies consists of six programs for specific target groups that are outlined below. To be eligible for all of these, apart from the Suicide Prevention Service (SPS), people must be unable to access other types of service, such as Better Access, and/or private services. In general, people will be unable to pay for such services. It is up to a persons’ GP to make the decision about eligibility. People may receive a maximum of 12 individual sessions per year. The referring GP may in exceptional circumstances,recommend that the client receive an additional six sessions above those already provided.

Please note that people of all income brackets can access SPS.

Through Psychological Strategies, people are also eligible for up to 12 separate group therapy sessions within one year. Groups should consist of 6-10 clients and group therapy does not count towards the individual mental health sessions in any year.

Read more

Psychological Strategies specialist streams

General practitioners, please provide your patients with the client information sheets provided below during your appointment with them.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service

  • Mild to moderate mental health diagnosis or assessed as being at risk of a mental illness    
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background
  • Age requirement 12+ years
  • Low income or disadvantaged
  • Can benefit from a short term focused psychological strategies intervention
  • Did not access Psychological Strategies for the same presenting issue in the previous year

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care/ General Psychological Strategies

  • Mild to moderate mental health diagnosis
  • Age requirement 12+ years
  • Low income/disadvantaged
  • Can benefit from a short term focused psychological strategies intervention

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Bushfire and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Service

  • Mild to moderate mental health diagnosis
  • Affected by the Victorian bushfires or living in a bushfire affected area
  • Age requirement 12+ years.
  • Low income or disadvantaged
  • Can benefit from a short term focused psychological strategies intervention
  • Did not access Psychological Strategies for the same presenting issue in the previous year 

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Child Mental Health Service

  • Can benefit from a short term focused psychological strategies intervention
  • Mild to moderate mental health diagnosis, or at risk of developing a mental illness
  • Age requirement 0 to 11 years inclusive
  • Low income or disadvantaged
  • Did not access Psychological Strategies for the same presenting issue in the previous  year

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Perinatal Depression Support

  • Diagnosed perinatal depression with mild to moderate presentation
  • Low income or disadvantaged
  • Can benefit from a short term focused psychological strategies intervention
  • Did not access Psychological Strategies for the same presenting issue in the previous year 

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Suicide Prevention Service

Suicide Prevention Service (SPS) sessions are unlimited within a two month period. A person may receive more than one SPS referral in any given year although these referrals must be justified as the program is for people with mild to moderate suicidality. 

SPS referrals can only be processed between 9am - 3pm Monday to Thursday. For any referrals faxed to 8677 9510 after 3pm (Mon-Thur), or Friday and weekend/ public holidays, referrers must also book a call back from the ATAPS Suicide Support Line (1800 859 585) for the person they are referring.

  • Person has either recently attempted suicide, is having suicidal ideation and/or is self-harming
  • Person is within the mild to moderate risk range and is not acutely at risk
  • Person does not need to be financially disadvantaged

Referral forms and information sheets (please download and save to your computer before filing out):

Psychological Strategies resources


General resources

Contact information

Referrals and intake phone: (03) 9800 1071
Enquiries: (03) 9800 1071
Fax: (03) 8677 9510

If you require information on office locations, provider skill sets, languages spoken, after hours and disability access, please contact the EMPHN Referral and Access Team on 9800 1071 for assistance with service navigation. 

Importing Mental Health Services Referral Form and the Re-referral/ Exceptional Circumstances Form into practice software

Importing to Medical Director

Without opening, copy the MD template from below link onto your PC desktop or other location.
 
Mental Health Services Referral Form and Re-referral(RR) /Exceptional circumstances (EC)form

  1. Open Medical Director and access the letter writer
  2. Click File menu > Select Modify Template > Select Blank template
  3. Click File > Select Import
  4. Locate downloaded file and click on Open
  5. Click File > Select Save as template     

Type in appropriate name and click on Save.

Importing to Best Practice

Without opening, copy the BP templates from below link onto your PC desktop or other location.

Mental Health Services Referral Form and Re-referral(RR) /Exceptional circumstances (EC)

  1. Open Best Practice and access the letter writer
  2. Open a New Letter and click Import templates from the Templates menu
  3. Locate downloaded file and open
  4. Click File menu select Save as
  5. Type in an appropriate Template name and click on Save




The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) is the work of Dr R.C Kessler and below mentioned colleagues. This measure is provided on the EMPHN website for EMPHN stakeholders and has been done so in consultation with Professor Gavin Andrews.

Kessler, R.C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L.J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D.K., Normand, S.-L.T., Walters, E.E., & Zaslavsky, A. (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalances and trends in nonspecific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine. 32(6), 959-976.