Mental Health Services
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a speciality service of the Hunter New England Local Health District Mental Health Services. It provides assessment and treatment for young people up to 17 years old, or who are attending school, and are experiencing complex and/or severe mental health problems. Services are provided in community and in hospital settings.
Wiyiliin Ta is a CAMHS community team offering culturally attuned services for Aboriginal young people and their families.
Referrals to CAMHS are made through the Mental Health Line (MHL) 1800011511
Mental Health Services, Resources and Support Information
CAMHS understand that families and carers of young people are their greatest strengths and best supports, therefore whenever possible families are included in the assessment and treatment. At a minimum the young person and one parent or adult carer attends the first assessment.
Generally young people seen by CAMHS have received treatment from their GP, a private mental health practitioner, or an agency such as headspace without an improvement in their mental health symptoms.
CAMHS will accept referrals for young people at high risk due to their mental health problem or with very complex needs, even if they have not had community treatment.
Young people with the following difficulties can be seen by CAMHS:
- Suicidal intentions or attempts, or self-harming behaviour with risk of significant harm due to mental health problems.
- Recent changes to behaviour or reduced day to day functioning possibly due to psychosis or major depression.
- Threats or behaviours with high risk of harm to others or property due to mental health problems
- Severe eating disorder
Depending on other factors such as having a poor response to previous treatment, complex family factors, having more than one health problem, and having moderate problems with day to day functioning, CAMHS may provide assessment and treatment for young people experiencing moderate impairment due to the following:
Depression or anxiety disorders including obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
Eating disorders, and
Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder with emotional dysregulation.
CAMHS usually does not provide services for people with the following difficulties, however they may be seen if they also have a significant mental health condition: Child protection issues, recent trauma such as assault, intellectual disability, autism, substance-use disorder, gender identity issues, ADHD, truancy or bullying, and brain injury.
CAMHS does not provide psychiatrist only consultation.
Referrals can be made by the young person themselves, parents or carers, and health or education providers.
Make a referral by contacting the Mental Health Line (MHL) on 1800 011 511.
The MHL is staffed by mental health clinicians and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will triage the referral to determine if it is suitable for CAMHS, if it is not they will suggest alternative services. The triage is conducted directly with young people over 16 years, with parents of young people 14 years or younger, and with parents and young people between 14 and 16 years.
CAMHS endeavors to see new clients for assessment within two weeks and within two days where a mental health professional determines an urgent need for assessment.
Headspace School Support
Kids Helpline @ School
LGBTI Students and School
LGBTI Sample School Policy
Responding to Mental Health Complexities: A Resource for Schools
Mental Health Complexities School Resource
Students avoiding school due to mental health difficulties
School Refusal: Every school day counts
School refusal for parents and carers
School Refusal: Parent handout
Eating Disorders in Schools
Eating Disorders in Schools: Prevention, Early Identification and Response
Navigating Their Way To Health: A brief guide to supporting someone with an eating disorder
Navigating Your Way To Health: A brief guide to approaching the challenges, treatment and pathways to recovery from an eating disorder
Mental Health Coordinating Council: Recovery Oriented Language Guide
Recovery Oriented Language Guide
Responding to Suicide
Headspace School Support: a suicide postvention program which assists Australian school communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from the death of a student by suicide
Responding to Suicide Attempts in Secondary Schools: a resource to support secondary schools after a student has made a suicide attempt
Red Chocolate Elephants: an Australian resource for talking to children bereaved by suicide (book and DVD)
Winston’s Wish: UK childhood bereavement charity. Site contains information and resources
Conversations Matter: a practical online resource to support safe and effective community discussions about suicide
Warning signs for suicide and self-harm
The four steps for suicide prevention
ASIST and safeTALK training:
Suicide Call Back Service: a support service and numerous resources for anyone affected by suicide. Online chat available for young people aged 15 years or over
Fact Sheets, Webinars and Training
MoodGYM: learn cognitive behaviour therapy skills for preventing and coping with depression
eheadspace: a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12-25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.
MindSpot Clinic: a free telephone and online service for Australian adults troubled by symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Smiling Mind: an app that brings mindfulness meditation to all.
The Toolbox: the best apps for your brain and body.
The Brave Program: an interactive, online program for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety.
Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.
Local services (Newcastle area)
headspace Newcastle: https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/newcastle/
headspace Maitland: https://www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/maitland/
Carers Australia NSW: http://www.carersnsw.org.au/
ARAFMI Hunter: http://www.arafmihunter.org.au/
'13 Reasons Why' resources
Mental Health First Aid Australia - important talking points and a plot summary with explanation of content concerns:
Headspace – response to the series and links for managing social media, grief and talking about suicide with a young person:
13 Reasons Why, Season 2 Resources
Talking to young people about the show:
How to talk to young people about 13 Reasons Why
In an emergency situation call 000.
If someone has attempted, or is at immediate risk of attempting to harm themselves or someone else call 000 immediately.
13 11 14
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
A free service for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, bereaved by suicide or are health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.
Kids Help Line
1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline is a free, 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Child Protection Helpline
If you think a child or young person is at risk of harm from abuse or neglect, contact the Child Protection Helpline. The Child Protection Helpline is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, state wide call centre staffed by professionally qualified caseworkers to receive and screen all reports.
A Mental Health Care Plan can be obtained from your general practitioner for eligible people. Mental Health care plans can assists with the cost of accessing private psychological services by providing funding through Medicare.
The following counselling services support and assist people from various groups and communities. Check call rates for each service before you use a mobile phone as you may be charged mobile rates.
ARAFMI Hunter Inc
02 4961 6717 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm)
Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Hunter Inc. is a non-Government not for profit charitable organisation managed by a committee of family members, carers, mental health care professionals and interested local people. At least 51% of the committee membership are relatives of people with a mental illness. Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Hunter recognizes the need for carers and family of the mentally ill to be able to reach out to someone for support, information or just an understanding voice. Telephone Support Counselling is available from 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
1300 78 9978
MensLine Australia is the national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. The service is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors, experienced in men’s issues. MensLine provides a safe and private place to talk about concerns; confidential, anonymous and non-judgmental support; coaching and practical strategies for managing personal relationship concerns; and relevant information and linkage to other appropriate services and programs as required.
Kids Help Line
1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline is a free, 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)
1800 011 046
VVCS provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. VVCS also provides relationship and family counselling to address issues that can arise due to the unique nature of military service. VVCS counsellors have an understanding of military culture and can work with clients to find effective solutions for improved mental health and wellbeing.
Carers Australia NSW
1800 242 636
Short-term counselling and emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families in each state and territory.
1800 184 527 (3pm to 12am every day)
QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people. QLife provides nation-wide, early intervention, peer supported telephone and web based services to diverse people of all ages experiencing poor mental health, psychological distress, social isolation, discrimination, experiences of being misgendered and/or other social determinants that impact on their health and wellbeing. Online chat support available from 3pm to 12am every day.
1800 650 890
eheadspace is not an emergency service but offers mental health support and treatment where appropriate. eheadspace provides online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends. If you're aged 12 to 25, you can contact eheadspace if you need support or are worried about your mental health. eheadspace can help you deal with a broad range of issues like bullying, drug and alcohol issues, depression and anxiety, relationships, concerns about a friend, fitting in and isolation. eheadspace specialists can also help you to get back on track with your study, career, job and other advice relating to employment and education. If you're a parent or carer who is concerned about the mental health of a young person aged 12 to 25, you can contact eheadspace for specialist advice and support. You can also visit the headspace website for more information: headspace.org.au.
1800 737 732
1800RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. It is a confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is staffed by professional counsellors with a minimum of a three year tertiary degree in relevant fields and no less than two years’ full time counselling experience. Callers are answered immediately and transferred to the service they need.
Domestic Violence Line
1800 656 463
The Domestic Violence Line is a statewide free-call number available 24 hours, seven days a week. The Domestic Violence Line provides telephone counselling, information and referrals for women and same-sex partners who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. Domestic Violence Line staff are aware of the special needs of Aboriginal women and women from other cultures, as well as those living in rural and remote areas. Interpreters and TTY can be arranged where necessary to ensure that all people, regardless of their language or disability can use the service. The service has an extensive list of contacts, people and services across NSW who can help. The Domestic Violence Line makes referrals to women's refuges and explains what they are and what they do. It also makes referrals to family support services, counselling, the police and courts, lawyers and hospitals. It helps with transport, emergency accommodation and other relevant support.
Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS)
1800 422 599
You can call ADIS any time of the day or week for support, information, advice, crisis counselling and referral to services in NSW. ADIS counsellors understand the difficulties of finding appropriate drug and alcohol treatment and use their knowledge and experience to assist you.
1300 364 277
Relationships Australia provides relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. They offer services around the country that include counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs. Fees for programs and services vary – please check the website for further information.
1300 736 966
02 4016 0550 (Newcastle)
Interrelate provides relationship services through a network of centres across metropolitan, regional and rural New South Wales. They offer relationship education, counselling, parenting support, a parenting after separation program, family dispute resolution and carer support. Some of their services are free and others attract a fee that may be charged based on income.
The NSW School-Link Initiative is a collaborative partnership between NSW Health and the Department of Education. School-Link Coordinators work with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and the Department of Education to improve the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of children and young people.
The focus of School-Link in the Hunter Region is on enhanced working partnerships between CAMHS and the Department of Education, Catholic Schools Office, local headspace Centres, the Mental Health Line and other local youth and mental health services. This includes collaborative projects, collaborative care planning, consultation work and capacity building through professional development. We take a team approach, working together with the shared aim of enhanced outcomes and better support for children and young people with complex mental health needs.
For further information you can visit the School-Link Resources and Professional Learning Information page.
Hunter New England Local Health District has three School-Link Coordinators located at:
School-Link Coordinators work collaboratively with schools to provide:
- Advice and implementation of evidence-informed mental health and wellbeing programs
- Guidance in collaborative care planning
- Psychoeducation for staff
- Links to local services
- Support in implementing suicide postvention guidelines
School-Link Coordinators also work alongside the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to provide:
- Assistance in devising school-based support for children and young people
- Consultation around school contexts
- Specialist support for transitions between educational and health settings
Got It! - Getting on Track in Time Program
Getting on Track in Time (Got It!) is an evidenced-based, early intervention mental health program for children in Years K-2 and their parents or carers. The program is delivered by local health professionals from the Hunter New England Local Health District Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and runs in partnership with the Department of Education. Got It! incorporates a universal and targeted approach to understanding and responding to emerging conduct concerns and disruptive behaviours in children.
Learn more about the Got It! Program.
A referral to Got It! is made via a formal expression of interest form that is completed by the school Principal. This form can be obtained from the Got It! Team or the relevant Department of Education Network Specialist Facilitator (Debborah Beckwith, Maitland/Hunter or Teena Skelton, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie).
Phone: 02 4924 6055