Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS)

$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 regionGippsland$3,675,700
Hume regionGoulburn Valley$2,468,400
Loddon Mallee regionLoddon Mallee$5,256,900
Grampians regionGrampians$3,447,400
Barwon South-West regionGreat South Coast$2,190,300


Funding for selected MHCSS programs and functions

Program/functionFunding modelUnit price
 Individualised client support packagesActivity-basedClient Support Unit: $76.50
Youth residential rehabilitationBed day rate$158 per bed day
Community intake assessment function (one per catchment)Block fundedup to $300,000 per function per annum
Catchment-based planning function (one per catchment)B  Block fundedup to $48,000 per function


Applications are currently closed. The next round of funding is yet to be announced.


More Information


Latest Announcement

The Victorian Coalition Government has today announced major changes that will improve the way community-based mental health support is delivered across the state.

Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said the reforms will better support adults and young people with mental illness to live independently, maintain the best possible social and emotional wellbeing and live satisfying lives in the community, regardless of where they live.

The changes announced are part of the recommissioning of $74 million per year in Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) which began with a call from the community mental health sector for change. The Coalition Government responded with an Advertised Call for Submission process in August 2013.

“I am delighted to announce 20 providers will deliver flexible support packages, new local intake assessment and a revitalised youth residential rehabilitation program for people with mental illness across the state,” Ms Wooldridge said.

This announcement comes at the conclusion of a six-month, two-stage selection process in which service providers were extensively assessed on the quality of their service delivery, their capacity to meet the individual needs of clients and their expertise and experience in mental health support.

The introduction of flexible support packages will mean each individual has a tailored and meaningful plan that recognises their individual needs, a single intake system which will make it simpler for people to access services and an improved youth residential rehabilitation system to better link young people to the health and community services they need to recover.

Importantly, the reforms also introduce a centralised planning function for each region. The independent planning function will give community mental health providers up-to-date, localised information about the needs of mental health clients in each region, enabling them to tailor services accordingly.

The new planning and intake functions will ensure priority support for people with severe mental health conditions, more thoroughly assess the needs of dependent children and genuinely engage families and carers in an individual’s recovery.

This reform consolidates all the funding from eleven different funded programs into four – giving service providers far more flexibility in how they utilise funding to meet the needs of their clients.

An additional $2.3 million will support the transition of clients, staff and organisations from the current to the new arrangements due to commence 1 August 2014.

“Reforms such as this inevitably mean change for providers and staff as well as clients. Our transition support investment will allow things such as free-call phone lines for clients, dedicated workers to actively support clients through transition as well as support for peak bodies to provide professional development training for staff,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“I congratulate the organisations that have been selected to deliver our new Mental Health Community Support Services and I am confident they will provide the diverse and high quality services people with a mental illness need.

“Mental health services, families, carers and people with a mental illness have been calling for change and our reform will deliver improved access to better quality services and greater flexibility to respond to individual needs,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Further information on the reform is available from:

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