Funding is available to health organisations to provide focussed mental health services.
Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) is a targeted program designed to increase the capacity of Medicare Locals to give priority to hard to reach groups who continue to miss out on Medicare subsidised services under the Better Access program. These include:
- people who are less able to pay fees;
- culturally and linguistically diverse communities;
- people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and
- people in rural and remote locations.
The short-term, goal-oriented, focused psychological strategies services that ATAPS provides are of most therapeutic value to individuals with common mental health disorders of mild to moderate severity.
The program also has dedicated funding to provide innovative services to people who have self-harmed or attempted suicide or are at risk of suicide, Indigenous people, children and their families and women with perinatal depression. Funding for suicide prevention, children and Indigenous mental health services has significantly increased since 2010 to increase the capacity of Medicare Locals to target these groups.
The objectives of ATAPS are to:
- produce better outcomes for individuals with common mental health disorders through offering evidence based short-term psychological interventions within a primary care setting;
- target services to those individuals requiring primary mental health care who are not likely to be able to have their needs met through Medicare subsidised mental health services;
- complement other fee-for-service programs and address service gaps for people in particular geographical areas and population groups;
- offer referral pathways for General Practitioners (GPs) to support their role in primary mental health care;
- offer non-pharmacological approaches to the management of common mental health disorders; and
- promote a team approach to the management of mental health disorders.