Psychosocial support for people with severe mental illness

Links on this page provide information about psychosocial supports available under a range of Australian Government programs to assist people with severe mental illness.

Page last updated: 14 April 2020

Psychosocial support services help people with severe mental illness to build skills to manage their mental illnesses, improve their relationships with family and others, and increase social and economic participation.

The Australian Government provides access to psychosocial supports for people with severe mental illness with an associated reduction in psychosocial functional capacity, who are not otherwise being supported through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)..

Psychosocial supports are available through the following three programs:

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have been tasked with commissioning tailored psychosocial support services to meet the needs of their local communities. Service commissioning is informed by local client needs assessments. PHNs can also support clients to access other mental health and clinical services that they manage through broader mental health funding arrangements. Contact information for the PHNs can be found at PHN Contacts.

The Evaluation of the Psychosocial Support Programs

The Nous Group has been appointed to undertake an evaluation of CoS and the Commonwealth component of NPS-M. The evaluation will run from March to December 2020.

The evaluation will be instrumental in improving the outcomes and experience of care for people with severe mental illness in need of psychosocial support. It will also provide the mental health sector and Government with an evidence-base to guide reforms intended to improve program delivery, provide guidance on best-practice service delivery models, improve access to services and guide tailored funding models. The evaluation is not being used to assess the performance of individual service providers or PHNs.

The timeframe for the evaluation provides an opportunity for changes to Commonwealth psychosocial support arrangements to be explored in parallel with broader mental health system reforms, including the final report from the Productivity Commission’s review of mental health arrangements.  The Evaluation also aims to inform advice to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council in 2021 on future directions of the NPS-M and options to improve coordination of investment in psychosocial supports by Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

The evaluation will explore the following lines of evaluation enquiry:

  • Have the NPS-M and CoS programs been implemented as planned and what are the lessons from the implementation?
  • To what extent have the NPS-M and CoS programs achieved their intended outcomes?
  • To what extent have the NPS-M and CoS services met the needs of clients, their families and carers?
  • Has the approach to integration of NPS-M and CoS support with other clinical and non-clinical services assisted consumers to access effective care and reduce demand for acute health services?
  • How cost-effective are the NPS-M and CoS programs?
  • How is evidence informing NPS-M and CoS service and program delivery?


The evaluation provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to help shape the way that psychosocial supports are delivered to people with severe mental illness. The Nous Group will undertake an extensive national consultation process to capture stakeholder views and experiences.

Further advice will be provided shortly on this webpage on the consultation process, including guidance on how you can participate in the evaluation. Changes to consultation may be required in response to the emerging spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Please check this webpage for updates.

Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet for Clients and Carers (PDF 204 KB)
Fact Sheet for Clients and Carers (Word 107 KB)