Psychological Therapy Services (PTS)

To limit the transmission of COVID-19 we have improved accessibility to our Psychological Therapy Services (PTS). PTS is still available for vulnerable patients via telehealth.

Our Psychological Therapy Services (PTS), formerly known as ATAPS, provide short-term support to people who have mild to moderate mental health concerns. Under this service, individuals can have up to 10 sessions in a calendar year unless otherwise noted below. Therapeutic services available are for community members who identify within the following streams:

  • New General stream for people affected by COVID-19: up to six free sessions for anyone with mental health concerns resulting from the impacts of COVID-19, that have not accessed other PTS service streams since 2019. People from rural and remote locations or experiencing locational disadvantage are strongly encouraged to obtain referral as telehealth sessions are available through this stream. No healthcare card is needed.  From 1 July 2024, to address the impact of cost-of-living pressures and to ensure that cost is not a barrier to people accessing the mental health support they need, the existing criteria of mental health concerns from the impacts of COVID-19 is being removed. GPs can assess and declare that a patient is requiring subsidised support through the PTS program due to financial strain and provide a General referral. The number of sessions available will be 8 free sessions. A Healthcare card is not required to access this service. 
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People
  • People with Comorbid Alcohol & Other Drugs (AOD) issues: A person must have a co-existing substance use and mental health issue, both of which are clinically and/or socially significant. Please note: the person in the therapy session must not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Carers: People who provide personal care, support and assistance to another individual due to disability, medical condition (including terminal or chronic illness), mental illness or are frail and aged. Please note: A person is not eligible if they provide care for payment, as a volunteer for an organisation, or as part of the requirements of a course of education or training.
  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex (LGBTQI) people: People who identify as LGBTQI or have concerns in relation to their experience of sexuality or gender.
  • Young people: aged 12 -25 years who reside in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury or Lithgow LGAs.
  • Women with Perinatal mental health issues: Women who are pregnant, or have a child 12 months or younger.
  • Children 0-11 years of age
  • People at low to moderate risk of suicide or self-harm (SOS): Eligible to receive one referral of up to seven sessions per calendar year. For more information, please see Seek out Support (SOS)
  • People with complex needs (Extended): People over the age of 25 who experience moderate to severe mental illness with added complexity inclusive of trauma (physical, sexual, emotional), abuse, neglect or a current diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder can receive 49 support hours over a two year period. Please note: Patients accessing Victims of Crime or other equivalent services are not eligible.
  • Disaster Recovery: Available to anyone in our region experiencing high levels of distress resulting from the 2019/20 bushfires, 2021/2022/2023/2024 floods or Bondi Junction tragedy 2024.

A person must be assessed and referred by a GP (or in some cases a psychiatrist or paediatrician) to receive Psychological Therapy Services. If a person has been affected by bushfire or flood they can call 1800 595 212 for support without a referral. 

Is a Healthcare or Pension Card needed?

A pension or healthcare card is not needed to access Psychological Therapy Services for:

  • People impacted by flood
  • People impacted by bushfire
  • People impacted by Bondi Junction tragedy
  • People at risk of suicide or self-harm
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people
  • People with mental health concerns resulting from the impacts of COVID-19

All other Psychological Therapy Services do require a pension or healthcare card.

How do my patients access a PTS stream? 

A referral must be made by a GP, Psychiatrist or Pediatrician (unless otherwise stated above). To refer to all PTS streams, GPs can call the PTS intake line on 1800 223 365.