$74M is available for community mental health services that support people with severe mental illness to live in the community.

Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS)



More than 12,000 Victorians with severe mental illness and psychiatric disability will receive better services through comprehensive reform of the community mental health sector. The Victorian Coalition Government is driving major changes in the Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Services (PDRSS) system to make it better for those who most need its services.

Key Benefits

Key benefits of the Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) include:
  • greater flexibility to meet individual needs through the introduction of individualised funding packages for clients and measurement of outcomes;
  • a streamlined, consistent approach to intake – including the introduction of a single entry point for each catchment – that will make the system easier to access, regardless of where a client lives;
  • priority support for people with severe mental health conditions;
  • more say for people on the supports and services they receive, and who they are delivered by;
  • assessment of the needs of dependent children and the provision of appropriate referrals and support;
  • genuine engagement of families and carers in an individual’s recovery; and
  • services designed and delivered to best meet the broad and unique needs of local communities and which link to other key health and human services within an individual’s region through an area-based approach to planning.


Eligible Activities

1. Catchment based intake assessment function

A catchment-based intake assessment function will be delivered by a single Service Provider in each catchment on behalf of, and in close collaboration with, all other Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) provider/s operating in that service catchment. This function is telephone based and will provide an initial (screening) assessment to determine client eligibility for Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) as well as priority of need.

Total funding for each catchment-based intake assessment function is up to $300,000 per annum.

2. Individualised client support packages

Activities that form part of an individualised client support package under the Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) may include as a minimum, but not limited to:

Client-facing support

  • comprehensive assessment of client need
  • development of a client-directed recovery plan
  • monitoring and review of this plan at regular intervals in partnership with the client and their carer/family and other relevant health and human services providers
  • provision of support (based on the clients recovery plan) with a focus on:

 The way these activities are delivered and the way they are combined and balanced e.g. one on one or group based will be determined by the Approved Service Provider, based on the assessed needs and preferences of the client.

Non-facing client support:

  • liaison, collaboration and coordination with mental health treatment and other relevant health, human services and social support services to facilitate a joined-up response to the person’s needs (this includes facilitation of, or participation in, case conferencing with the client and individual advocacy)
  • time spent documenting case notes or other client related information
  • time spent organising activities or providing other support functions on behalf of clients (e.g. organising appointments).

3. Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services

Youth Residential Rehabilitation services provide psychosocial rehabilitation support to young people aged 16-25 years with a serious mental illness in a residential setting for up to 12 months. Young people who use this service often experience multiple disadvantage including disrupted education or employment; loss of connection with family and friends; homelessness; substance misuses problems; engagement in the justice system; and neglect and abuse.

The aim of the YRR service model is to assist the young person to learn or re-learn skills and confidence required for independent living, better manage their mental illness and support them to achieve their recovery goals in respect to social relationships, social connection, physical health, education, vocational training and employment and housing and other needs.

4. Catchment-based planning function

The catchment-based planning function of the Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) will be undertaken by a single provider on behalf of, and in partnership with other MHCSS provider/s operating in the catchment and a range of stakeholders, including the Department.

This planning function will assist MHCSS providers operating in a given catchment to develop a regular common plan which will identify critical service gaps and pressures and strategies to improve responsiveness to client and community need and population diversity, including disadvantaged population groups. Each plan will provide the basis for improved cross sector service coordination and by doing this achieve a more planned, joined-up approach to the needs of individual clients.

It will also support providers of MHCSS within a catchment to efficiently participate in relevant service coordination and planning platforms managed by, for example, Services Connect, Medicare Locals, Public Health Services and Local Government Authorities.



$74M is available for community mental health services that support people with severe mental illness to live in the community, including home-based outreach services, day programs, care coordination and youth residential rehabilitation services.

The Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) includes the following services and functions:

  • Individualised client support packages (total indicative funding of $60.1 million statewide)
  • 16 Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services (total indicative funding of $8.6 million statewide)
  • Catchment based intake assessment function (one function in each of 15 catchments) (total indicative funding of up to $4.5 million statewide)
  • Catchment-based planning function (one function in each of 15 catchments) (total indicative funding of $0.72 million statewide).

Funding Per Catchment

Department of Health RegionService catchmentIndicative maximum funding per catchment per annum
Southern metropolitan regionBayside$6,794,400
Frankston-Mornington Peninsula$3,856,300
North West metropolitan regionInner North Melbourne$6,044,200
North Melbourne$6,777,900
North Western Melbourne$7,847,500
South Western Melbourne$3,266,000
Eastern metropolitan regionEastern Melbourne$5,415,200
Inner East Melbourne$7,886,700
Gippsland regionGi