Welcome to SANE’s Guided Service

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On this page you’ll learn about:

  1. SANE’s Guided Service
  2. Eligibility and Registration

About SANE's Guided Service

Currently rolling out across Australia, our new guided service provides free digital and telehealth services and ongoing tailored support to people over 18 years of age with complex mental health needs and their families and carers.

The service was informed by advisory bodies and people with personal experience to also provide mental health support to people with intellectual disability, autism or acquired brain injury.

On introduction to the service, you will be connected with a dedicated support team of mental health professionals across lived experience and counselling. Your team will take the time to listen and understand your needs and preferences, and work with you to create a flexible and personalised support plan that prioritises your wellbeing, assists you in reaching your goals and helps you develop skills to better manage your mental health.

Your dedicated support team will check in regularly to ensure the program is working for you, offer support and adjust your plan, if required. You’ll also have access to a secure online portal, where you will find your goals, appointments, booking tools, and resources.

This free service includes:

  • Help with developing your tailored support plan
  • 1:1 sessions with our counsellors and/or peer support workers
  • Multi-session counselling by phone
  • Peer led online group sessions
  • Tailored online chat sessions
  • Online arts, social and psycho-educational support sessions
  • Tools and resources to support your wellbeing and recovery
  • After-hours access, with our counsellors available Mon-Fri until 10pm AEDT
  • 24/7 access to our professional moderated online community.

Benefits of a tailored support plan:

  • improved recovery (mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing)
  • increased social connectedness
  • improved quality of life
  • quick access to mental health support.

Have questions? Click here to read our FAQs or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To check if this service is available in your area, continue to Step 1 – Am I Eligible?

SANE received funding from the Australian Government to develop and deliver the guided service.

Step 1 — Am I eligible?

To be eligible for SANE’s guided service, you must have complex mental health needs or be caring for someone who does, be over 18 years of age, and living within an eligible Primary Health Network (PHN) region.

Complex mental health issues are those that have a significant impact on your daily life, relationships as well as your work. They include, but aren’t restricted to, schizophrenia, complex trauma, psychosis, bi-polar and borderline personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders. They could also be a response to trauma that’s causing high levels of distress that doesn’t fit into a diagnosis, they may be persistent, treatment resistant or rare.

We also welcome people with intellectual disability, autism or acquired brain injury who require mental health support.

To check your eligibility, please check here.

Are you over 18?

On this page you’ll learn about:

  1. SANE’s Guided Service
  2. Eligibility and Referral

About SANE's Guided Service

Currently rolling out across Australia, our new guided service includes free digital and telehealth support services and provides ongoing tailored support for people with complex mental health needs and their families and carers.

Developed through a comprehensive codesign process with ALIVE – the National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation – and drawing from the latest evidence and lived experience insights, the guided service meets growing demand and complements treatment pathways.

Our team of mental health professionals work with participants to create a flexible and personalised support plan. The one-on-one contact with a peer support worker, professional counselling, lived experience forums, and a range of activities and initiatives will help participants set goals for their recovery and learn the skills to better manage their mental health.

Participants also have their own secure online portal, where all their goals, appointments, booking tools, and resources are easily available. Their support team will check in regularly to ensure the program is working for them, offer support, and adjust their plan, if required.

Benefits of a tailored support plan:

  • improved recovery (mental, physical, and emotional)
  • increased social connectedness
  • improved quality of life
  • reduced waiting times for mental health support.

Have questions? Click here to read our FAQs, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call our referrer access line on 03 6164 5055. You might also like to watch our referrer webinar replay.

To check if the person you are referring is eligible for this service, please continue to Step 1 – Checking Eligibility

SANE received funding from the Australian Government to develop and deliver the guided service.

Step 1 — Checking eligibility

To be eligible for SANE’s guided service, participants must have complex mental health needs or be caring for someone who does, be over 18 years of age, and living within an eligible Primary Health Network (PHN) region.

Complex mental health issues are those that have a significant impact on your daily life, relationships as well as your work. They include, but aren’t restricted to, schizophrenia, complex trauma, psychosis, bi-polar and borderline personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders.

They could also be a response to trauma that’s causing high levels of distress that doesn’t fit into a diagnosis, they may be persistent, treatment resistant or rare. We also consider co-occurring mental health issues and intellectual disability or autism as complex mental health issues.

To check if the person you are referring is eligible for this service, please complete this short form.

Are they over 18?

Referrer Webinar Replay

Our Referrer Webinar explains the service framework for our new guided service, how the referral process works, and the benefits and outcomes for both participants and mental health providers.

You’ll also learn about the guided service digital portal, where participants can find their support plan, track their goals, see their appointments, and access booking tools and tailored resources.

It’s time to bridge the gaps in Australia’s mental health system.

Watch the replay here.

FAQs

How was the Guided Service developed?

We created the guided service after extensive consultations with people with complex mental health issues, SANE’s experienced counsellors, Peer Ambassadors and peer support workers, and many experts and organisations in the mental health sector. They spoke of the need for a service that filled in the gaps in support, integrating counselling and information services with public health services. With more than 36 years delivering peer-led mental health services, SANE was uniquely placed to join with Primary Health Networks to create a service that gives participants the support and skills to self-manage their mental health.

The service was co-designed with ALIVE – The National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation – to meet the highest standards of care.

All SANE services follow the CHIME framework, which stands for the five optimal components for mental health programs: Connectedness, Hope and optimism, Identity, Meaning and purpose, and Empowerment. Every aspect of the guided service has been created with these attributes in mind.

As we roll out the guided service, SANE will be monitoring its operation, including asking users for their feedback and suggestions. From this, we will be adjusting our practice to create the best service we can. An external team from the University of Queensland will also evaluate its use, benefits and accessibility and report back to SANE.

How does the guided service differ from SANE’s other services?

SANE's range of services, including counselling, community forums and chat groups, form a drop-in service designed for self-managing mental health issues. It allows people with complex mental health issues to access the support they need when they need it. The guided service draws on many of the same programs but within a system of one-on-one guidance, a tailored plan and co-ordination with all your other health support.

For many people with complex mental health issues, using our services as they need them is convenient and easy: a counsellor for one-on-one help, a peer-led forum or chat group for social connection, or links to helpful information. You can be anonymous and choose if, when and how you engage with our services. To browse all of the services we offer, visit sane.org/get-support.

I have already accessed other services through SANE. Can I still access the guided service?

Yes, if you pass the eligibility criteria and feel that you would benefit from a more individual and structured management of your mental health issues or help with accessing and navigating the mental health system, you can register or be referred to the guided service.

Similarly, after completing your support plan through the guided service, you can continue to self-manage your mental health through our range of services.

What areas of Australia can access the service?

Registration and referrals for the guided service are open to people living in the following areas:

VICTORIA

  • North-Western Melbourne PHN region 
  • Western Victoria PHN region

QUEENSLAND

  • Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN regions
  • Brisbane North PHN region
  • Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN regions

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Central and Eastern Sydney PHN regions
  • Western Sydney PHN region
  • The Hunter, New England and Central Coast PHN regions

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • Adelaide PHN region

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

  • All regions

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • All regions

TASMANIA

  • All regions

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • All regions


Not in your area? SANE offers a range of services that are are available to you right now. Click the links below to learn more.

What can I expect from the guided service?

The service is tailored to each person’s situation and needs, so every support plan will be different. But there are common elements.

You will initially speak to a member of our Welcome Team who will become your Peer Navigator, providing one-on-one practical, technical and emotional support during your time with the service. With their personal experience of complex mental health issues, they can help you formulate a support plan and guide you through each stage.

You will be allocated a professional counsellor who you will meet online or phone for regular counselling sessions.

A participant login will be set up for you on the SANE online portal. The portal is your private mental health and wellbeing space, where you and your team plot your recovery journey. It contains your personal support plan, a calendar of key appointments and events, booking tools for sessions, SANE surveys and the ability to access your personal information. Your Peer Navigator will show you how you can download resources, keep track of your progress and contact your support team.

Throughout your time using the service, you will be supported by your SANE team, consisting of your Welcome Team, your Counsellor and your Peer Navigator.

Online Social and Psychosocial Groups and Moderated Forums on the SANE website provide connection, creativity, and information. SANE’s community forums are monitored 24-hours-a-day.

Online Events, such as webinars and drop-in group events, will be a regular part of your calendar.

Extra supports and activities may be added as part of your tailored plan, according to your needs and situation.

How does the guided service fit in with my existing support network?

The guided service combines SANE's established mental health services, one-on-one support and your existing mental health network, including your GP and Primary Health Care providers. It provides pathways and transition into a range of community and PHN supports and services.

Our health care system often leaves people with complex mental issues separated from the support they need. Sometimes they don't know what services are available or cannot access them. Sometimes they feel overwhelmed by choice and conflicting information.

Because of our experience in peer-led digital mental health services, we can be the much-needed bridge between people and the primary care and psycho-social help they need.

How does counselling work at SANE?

As part of your support plan, you will be assigned a counsellor who you will speak to regularly. SANE counsellors are specifically trained in complex mental health and will collaborate with you to improve your mental wellbeing and achieving the personal goals in your support plan. Counselling sessions are conducted either by phone or video call.

Our counsellors use a strength-based approach that helps you build connection, personal skills, confidence and self-knowledge. They will only use widely accepted evidence-based counselling techniques, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, open dialogue, and acceptance and commitment therapy.

During your assessment, the frequency of the sessions will be set according to your needs. After six weeks, they will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

How does the referral process work?

You can register yourself or be referred by your doctor, an allied health professional, a close family member or carer, or your local Primary Health Network. People require your informed consent to refer you. Visit sane.org/referral for more information.

At the start of the registration/referral process, an eligibility checker will confirm if you are eligible for the service. If you are not over 18 or not located in a participating Primary Health Network area, you will be directed to other supports that you can access right now.

If you are eligible, you will be directed to a referral form. After the form is received, a Welcome Team member will call you to discuss your circumstances and needs and to make sure the service is right for you.
 
Our Welcome Team is made up of trained peer support workers who have experienced many of the issues you are facing. It will be an informal discussion to find out more about your circumstances, particularly about your current mental health issues and how they are affecting your life, the level of support you need to manage your situation, whether your current supports are adequate, your access to reliable phones and internet, and your willingness to work with SANE to co-ordinate the best plan for yourself.

You can ask them anything about the guided service and what it entails. Only after this discussion will the support worker confer with the Welcome Team to assess your suitability for the guided service.

Why do I need to have a reliable internet or phone connection?

Reliable communications are crucial to connecting with the guided service, because one of its key features is your own portal on the SANE website that organises all your supports, appointments, meetings and activities. Through the portal you will connect with your mental health team and support workers, join online chats and community forums, receive notifications and attend meetings – all requiring the capacity for phone calls, texts, and internet. Your plan may also incorporate telehealth services. Without a reliable computer or phone connection, the benefits of the service are limited.

What will happen if the Welcome Team decides that, although I am eligible, my circumstances are not suitable for the service?

In that case, the Welcome Team member will call you and direct you to other solutions and options for you. They may include support services in your area or the counselling, community forums and practical information available from SANE.

If your situation changes, you are welcome to register again, and we will assess you based on your new circumstances.

For health care professionals and primary care workers

I work in mental health care: how do I know if the guided service is suitable for my client?

At the stage of referral, all you need is a belief they would benefit from a tailored plan and personalised support. But there are categories of people with complex mental health issues for whom we have designed this service:

  • People with mental health issues too complex for GP mental health plan management alone.
  • People stepping down from hospital into the primary care system.
  • People waiting to access psychological support through a Mental Health Treatment Plan.
  • People whose complex mental health needs a more nuanced understanding than their current services can provide, particularly in rural and remote areas.
  • People who receive National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support for their disability but not for mental health needs.
  • People who have limited formal and community support networks.

I am a health worker and one of my clients would benefit greatly from the tailored, one-on-one support of the guided service, but I cannot persuade them to take part. Can I refer them anyway?

No, the guided service needs the informed consent of participants. However, if you call SANE support (1800 187 263), our team can tell you about other services your client can use, including those offered by SANE.

Information for Carers and Family Members

I am a carer of someone with complex mental health issues. They would find it difficult to manage a program online, can I help them carry out their online plan?

Yes, if our Welcome Team feels the person you care for will benefit from the service and you can help them manage the plan online. However, you will need their informed consent before referral

I am a carer of someone with complex mental health issues and finding it difficult to cope. I need support. Can I take part in the guided service?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria, our Welcome Team will discuss your circumstances with you and, if we agree that you will benefit from the service, we will put a support plan in place that is tailored to you as a carer.

Completing the guided service

How long does the guided service last?

It depends on you, your circumstances, and your mental health needs. This is a personalised journey, planned out between you and your support team. The average period will be around 12 weeks, but it could be longer or shorter. Throughout that time, your support team will be monitoring how well you are going by asking you questions and listening to you. Adjustments to your personalised plan will be made when needed.

Why does the guided service only last for a limited period?

The guided service is not designed to be permanent, full-time support, nor is it suitable for handling severe mental health crises. Rather, it is designed for you if you would benefit in the medium term from the structure of a tailored plan, supported by a dedicated team, to help you navigate your mental health journey. At the end of the service period, you will be a long way on your recovery path, with the connections, knowledge and skills to self-manage your mental health in the future.

Can I leave the guided service before the scheduled period?

Yes, of course. The program is entirely voluntary. You can leave at any time. You might find you no longer need the program, or it turns out it is not for you. In such a case, your Peer Navigator will help you transition out of the program with all the appropriate supports in place.

At the end of my time in the guided service what will I have achieved?

After those weeks of one-on-one support, you will find yourself a long way on your recovery journey and a support plan that you can take with you to continue working on your goals. You will have learnt how to better manage your mental health and navigate a path through the complex health system. You will have networks of support and know how to access them when you need them. We’ll support you in a process of transition to increased self-management of your mental health.

What if, at the scheduled end of my guided service, I’m not ready to leave?

We know leaving the service after weeks of support, connection and structure can be scary, but we will be there to help you transition to a self-managed model. Many of the SANE's supports and activities you have enjoyed will still be there for you to use when you need them. Many of the relationships and connections you’ve made can be maintained into the future, while the knowledge and skills you have picked up, especially about how to access the help you need when you need it, will always be with you.

However, if you and your support team feel you need some extra time, there is provision to extend your support by a couple of weeks to make transition easier and to put the right supports in place.

Who can I contact for more information about the guided service?

If you are thinking that the guided service might help you, a family member or someone you care for, you can contact SANE on our phone or email lines (1800 187 263This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). There you can connect with one of our team, who can take you through it step by step and answer your questions.

Privacy and Confidentiality

I am worried about filling out online forms and putting personal information on SANE’s website. How can I be sure that what I tell you is kept safe and confidential?

Confidentiality is important to us and keeping your information safe is our priority. We have a strict privacy policy in which all our staff are trained. All personal and identifying information provided to SANE will be kept private and confidential.

On the referral form, we ask only the minimal information we need to begin assessment and create your individual plan. Any information you give us is confidential between you and your support team. All data is kept safe on secure systems and is available to no one outside SANE. Go to our privacy policy: https://www.sane.org/privacy

Do you share any information with outside parties?

Yes, but in extremely limited circumstances. For example, if there is imminent risk of harm to someone, there may be a legal requirement to share information with a government authority, such as a local health authority or police.

And SANE shares service information with our research partners at Australian universities, who are evaluating our services and researching ways to improve them. But this information is of a statistical nature and will not identify you, nor will information you gave our support team in confidence be passed on.

Do you keep my information forever?

No, after keeping it secure, we will eventually destroy your information in accordance with our data and information management policies. See here: sane.org/data-and-information management

You will assign me a portal on your website. How secure will it be?

The portal we set up for you is your private health care and wellbeing space, accessible only to you. You will protect it with your own password and control the information on it. We will help you maintain it and will send you alerts, news and other messages, but only you can access it.

I still have some questions about the guided service. Who do I speak to?

Just call SANE on 1800 187 263 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm) and speak to one of SANE’s support team. Or contact us by email through our website (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We’ll be glad to answer your questions.

If I have some feedback, concerns or complaints about this service, who do I speak to?

Feedback is always welcome, and complaints help us improve the service. If you wish to comment or complain about SANE's services, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We have a feedback and complaints policy that you can read here: https://www.sane.org/about-sane/policies/feedback-and-complaints-policy

We will always try to resolve your complaint, but if you are not satisfied by our response, you can contact AHPRA below.

For other issues:
If you have privacy or security issues, contact the Office of the Australian Information

Commissioner (OAIC) at https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-complaints.

For concerns or complaints about a health service, contact your state or territory health complaints organisation; the contact details can be found on the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) website: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/About-Ahpra/Complaints.aspx.

For concerns or complaints about a registered health professional, go to AHPRA's webpage: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications/How-to-submit-a-concern.aspx.

For concerns and complaints about misleading claims, contact Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCAC): https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/advertising-and-promotions/false-or-misleading-claims

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