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Welcome to SANE's Guided Service

A personalised support program for people with complex mental health needs and their families and carers. We also welcome people with intellectual disability, autism or acquired brain injury, seeking mental health support.

What can I expect from SANE's 14-week guided service program?

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Free and Quick Access

easy access to free digital and telehealth mental health support (telephone and internet access required).

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14 Sessions over 14 Weeks

including a welcome call, support planning call, 6 x 1:1 counselling or peer support sessions (you choose), and 6 x mental health recovery groups.

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Personalised Support Plan

we'll help you set and work towards practical and meaningful mental health recovery goals, based on your situation and needs.

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Dedicated Support

you'll have a dedicated counsellor or peer support worker throughout the program, so you won't have to repeat your story.

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Counselling or Peer Support

you get to choose whether you work with a qualified counsellor or peer support worker for your fortnightly 1:1 sessions.

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Mental Health Recovery Groups

you'll also attend mental health recovery groups, on alternate weeks between your 1:1 sessions.

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24/7 Online Community

we'll introduce you to SANE's thriving peer support community, which you can access any time of day/night, and on any device.

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Participant Portal

convenient online portal, where your support plan, appointments and resources are all saved in one secure place.

SANE services are accredited against the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards (NSQDMH).

My counsellor was validating and provided valuable perspective. She allowed me to think some things through out loud and helped me to put those random thoughts into actionable goals. 
My peer worker is incredibly helpful and able to help me see things that are positive that could otherwise be interpreted as negative. She is ultimately helping give me hope for a radically better future.

How the guided service program works

  • Check Eligibility

    SANE's guided service is currently funded to accept referrals for people over 18 years of age, who live within an eligible Primary Health Network area. Start with our simple two-step eligibility checker. If you're not eligible, we'll direct you to other supports.

  • Register or Refer

    You can register yourself or a referral can also be submitted on your behalf by a health professional, close family member, carer, or referral organisation using our secure online referral form. Informed consent is required to submit a referral on behalf of someone else.

  • Referral Acceptance

    A member of our welcome team will review and process your referral within 24 hours (Mon-Fri), and you'll receive an email confirming your acceptance into the program. The email includes detailed information about the program and important next steps for getting started.

  • Getting Started

    To get started with the program, you'll need to follow the instructions in your program acceptance email to activate your Participant Portal and provide consent to the program guidelines. You'll also be able to manage your communication preferences and add support people at this step.

  • We'll Call You

    Within 48 hours (Mon-Fri) of accepting your referral, we'll call you to conduct your welcome call. If we can't reach you, we'll send an SMS and email asking you to get back to us. We'll try again in a couple of days, but if we haven't been able to connect with you within 7 days of receiving your referral, we'll close your referral and send an email explaining how you can easily rejoin the program when you're ready to participate.

  • Welcome Call (Week 1)

    In your welcome call, we'll introduce you to SANE, explain the program format and answer any questions you might have. We'll also get to know you and understand your needs and preferences (including whether you'd prefer counselling or peer support sessions), and how we can best support you to achieve your desired outcomes.

  • Support Planning (Week 2)

    In your support planning call, we'll help you create practical and meaningful mental health recovery goals based on your situation and needs. Your dedicated counsellor or peer support worker will help you work towards these goals in your 1:1 sessions.

  • Start Groups (Week 3)

    You'll start fortnightly online mental health recovery groups led by senior peer support workers. These small-sized groups will fall on alternate weeks in between your 1:1 sessions and cover a variety of mental health recovery topics.

  • Start 1:1s (Week 4)

    You'll start fortnightly 1:1 counselling or peer support sessions (depending on which option you chose during your welcome call). These 1:1 sessions will help you build the skills and confidence to achieve the goals set out in your support plan.

  • Alternating Groups and 1:1s (Week 5-13)

    Fortnightly 1:1 sessions and mental health groups will continue on alternating weeks, helping you work towards your mental health recovery and personal goals, build connections and supports, and plan for the future.

  • Program Completion (Week 14)

    We'll support you to transition out of the program with a personal recovery plan, utilising the insights and skills you've gained during your time in the guided service and connections to ongoing support.

More detailed information about the program can be found in our FAQs section. Health Professionals might also like to watch our referrer webinar replay or download our referrer information pack.


Two-step eligibility checker

To be eligible for SANE’s guided service, you/they must have complex mental health needs or be a family member, close friend or carer of someone who does, be over 18 years of age, and live within an eligible Primary Health Network (PHN) area. Reliable telephone and internet access is also required to access the service.

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Are you/they over 18 years of age?


Learn more about the guided service

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

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Central and Eastern Sydney PHN regions
  • Western Sydney PHN region
  • The Hunter, New England and Central Coast PHN regions
  • Darling Downs and West Moreton 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 support services that are available across Australia. Click here to learn more.

What is the eligibility criteria?

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 live within an eligible Primary Health Network (PHN) region.

Complex mental health issues are impactful, severe, enduring, or episodic. They can involve high levels of psychological distress, exposure to trauma, and/or conditions such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, and bipolar disorder.

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

You also need reliable telephone access to receive telehealth appointment calls from us, and internet access to log into your participant portal and participate in mental health recovery groups.

To check your eligibility, please use our two-step eligibility checker.

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 of 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 better manage their mental health issues.

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 focuses on five major themes as important to mental health recovery: 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 part of our commitment to continuous quality improvement, SANE has evaluation processes in place to monitor the effectiveness of the program, including asking users for their feedback and suggestions.

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

SANE offers different types and levels of support to people over 18 years of age with complex mental health needs, and their family, friends and carers.

Our self-guided options include counselling, online groups and events, 24/7 community forums, and online information and resources. 

Our guided service is unique in that it provides additional one-on-one support centred around a personalised support plan, and co-ordinated with other mental health supports - both within and outside of the SANE community.

To learn more about 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 you would benefit from guidance and a personalised support plan to help you achieve your mental health goals, you can register or be referred to the guided service.

Similarly, after completing your support plan through the guided service, you can continue to support your mental health recovery by utilising our range of self-guided support services, including telephone counselling, online groups and events, 24/7 community forums, and online information and resources.

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 transitions into a range of community supports and services.

Our healthcare 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 choices 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.

What can I expect from the guided service?

The guided service program provides 14 free support sessions over 14 weeks, including:

  • A welcome call to introduce you to SANE and the community, walk you through the program format and answer any questions you might have. We'll also get to know you and understand your needs and preferences (including whether you'd prefer counselling or peer support sessions), and how we can best support you to achieve your desired outcomes.
  • A support planning session to talk about your needs and set personalised goals for your mental health recovery.
  • 6 x fortnightly mental health recovery groups. You'll also have the option to join our twice-monthly LGBTQIA+ group.
  • 6 x fortnightly individual counselling or peer support sessions (depending on which option you choose). Individual sessions are held on alternate weeks to your mental health recovery groups.

Immediately after submitting your referral, you'll receive an email confirming receipt of your referral and your eligibility or ineligibility based on your age and residential location. If you are under 18 years of age, or living outside a participating Primary Health Network area, you will be directed to alternative supports.

A member of our welcome team will then review and process your referral within 24 hours (Mon-Fri), and will send you an email confirming your acceptance into the program.

In exceptional cases, our welcome team may reach out for a conversation to ensure the guided service aligns with your needs and expectations. If, during this discussion, you determine that the program isn't the best fit for you, our team member will guide you to alternative support options. This may include exploring other SANE support services or providing resources to help you discover additional mental health supports in your local area. 

You'll need to follow the instructions in your program acceptance email to access your Participant Portal and provide consent to the program guidelines in order to get started with the program. The participant portal is your private space, that contains your personal support plan, a schedule of upcoming appointments and events, and other important resources as part of your participation.

Within 48hrs (Mon-Fri) of accepting your referral, we'll call you to conduct your welcome call. If we can't reach you, we'll send an SMS and email, asking you to get back to us. We'll try again in a couple of days, but if we haven't been able to connect with you within 7 days of receiving your referral, we'll close your referral and send an email explaining how you can easily rejoin the program when you're ready to participate. This process allows us to maintain a reliable service and provide quick access to mental health support for those who need it. 

During your welcome call, we'll get to know you and orient you to the 14-week program. We'll gain an understanding of your needs and preferences, including whether you'd prefer individual counselling or peer support sessions. We’ll also set up a time for your support planning session.

In your support planning session, your dedicated counsellor or peer support worker (depending on which option you chose in your Welcome Call), will help you create practical mental health recovery goals, based on your individual situation and needs. Personalised support planning is designed to help broaden your skills, achieve your personal goals, and develop greater self-confidence. 

Next, you'll start attending fortnightly online mental health recovery groups led by senior peer support workers. Groups are held online using Zoom, with a small group of guided service participants and 1-2 support workers. They run for 40 minutes and cover different mental health recovery topics like goal setting, connection, coping skills, hope and optimism, identity, physical health, meaning and empowerment, and more. You'll also have the option to join special interest groups, like our twice-monthly LGBTQIA+ group.

In the following week, you'll also start fortnightly individual counselling or peer support sessions. The individual sessions fall on alternate weeks between your fortnightly mental health recovery groups and are tailored to help you work towards the goals set out in your support plan. 

Fortnightly 1:1 sessions and mental health groups will continue on alternating weeks, for the remainder of the program, helping you work towards your mental health recovery and personal goals, building connections and supports, and planning for the future.

At the end of the program, your support team will help you transition out of the guided service and access SANE’s large online peer support community for ongoing support.

What's the difference between counselling and peer support at SANE?

SANE’s qualified counsellors use a strength-based approach that helps you build upon personal skills and resilience, increase self-confidence, facilitate reflection and develop strategies for achieving personal goals and maintaining health and wellbeing. 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. SANE counsellors are specifically trained in complex mental health issues and will collaborate with you to improve your mental wellbeing and achieve the personal goals in your support plan.

SANE’s professionally trained peer support workers provide support based on shared experiences of complex mental health issues. Peer support relationships are different from traditional clinician-patient relationships and are not based on medical models. Instead, peer support provides mental health benefits through empathy,  acceptance,  and skill-sharing that comes from dealing with similar (but not necessarily the same) lived experiences.  Peer support workers aim to support people wherever they are in their recovery and focus on a person's strengths to develop hope, resilience and wellbeing strategies.

At the start of your guided service participation, you’ll be asked if you would prefer a SANE counsellor or peer support worker as part of your dedicated support team. After establishing your personalised support plan, you’ll go on to have 6 fortnightly 1:1 sessions together, working towards the goals set out in your support plan.

How does the referral process work?

You can register yourself or a referral can also be submitted on your behalf by a health professional, close family member, carer, or referral organisation using our online referral form. Note: People require your informed consent to submit a referral on your behalf.

At the start of the registration/referral process, you can use our two-step eligibility checker to confirm if you're eligible for the service. 

Immediately after submitting your referral, you'll receive an email confirming receipt of your referral and your eligibility or ineligibility based on your age and residential location. If you are under 18 years of age, or living outside a participating Primary Health Network area, you will be directed to alternative supports.

A member of our welcome team will then review and process your referral within 24 hours (Mon-Fri), and will send you an email confirming your acceptance into the program.

In exceptional cases, our welcome team may reach out for a conversation to ensure the guided service aligns with your needs and expectations. If, during this discussion, you determine that the program isn't the best fit for you, our team member will guide you to alternative support options. This may include exploring other SANE support services or providing resources to help you discover additional mental health supports in your local area. 

You'll need to follow the instructions in your program acceptance email to access your Participant Portal and provide consent to the program guidelines in order to get started with the program. 

Within 48hrs (Mon-Fri) of accepting your referral, we'll call you to conduct your welcome call. If we can't reach you, we'll send an SMS and email, asking you to get back to us. We'll try again in a couple of days, but if we haven't been able to connect with you within 7 days of receiving your referral, we'll close your referral and send an email explaining how you can easily rejoin the program when you're ready to participate. This process allows us to maintain a reliable service and provide quick access to mental health support for those who need it. 

Why do I need internet and telephone access?

You must have reliable internet and telephone access to participate in the guided service.

The welcome call, support planning call and fortnightly 1:1 sessions are all conducted by telephone, and an internet connection is required to access your participant portal and attend fortnightly mental health recovery groups. An active email account is also required to receive important communications and appointment-related notifications.

Adjunct supports, including SANE's online peer support community, chat groups, and online tools and resources, are all accessed via the SANE website and require internet access.

Completing the guided service

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 support team will help you transition out of the program with all the appropriate supports in place.

What if something happens and I need to stop my participation? 

We understand things can sometimes get in the way, and that’s okay. You can choose to stop your participation at any time and rejoin when you are ready. Because we already have your information on file, rejoining is quick and easy, and there's no issue in trying again at a more suitable time for you, or even trying multiple times.

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 transitioning 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.

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

If you think the guided service might help you, a family member or someone you care for, you can contact our support line by phone on 1800 187 263 (and select option 1), or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our team will be able to answer any questions you might have.

For healthcare 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 us on 1800 187 263 (and select option 1), our team can tell you about other services your client can use, including those offered by SANE.

Information for carers and family members

I support someone with complex mental health issues. They would find it difficult to manage a program online, can I help them manage their participation?

Absolutely. The guided service program is designed to accommodate and encourage the involvement of support people.

Please ensure you have obtained the participant's informed consent before submitting a referral on their behalf.  Once they have been accepted into the program, participants can easily add support people through their online participant portal. If needed, our Welcome Team is also available to assist in setting this up for them.

It's important to note that if you intend on attending appointments together, both of you will need to be in the same location during the appointment.

If you have further questions or need guidance, you can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria, we can put a support plan in place that is tailored to you as a carer.

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?

Your confidentiality is important to us, and keeping personal information safe is our priority. 

SANE has a strict privacy policy that governs the way we collect, hold, protect, use and disclose your personal information. It also outlines your rights and how you can access and control the information we get from you. All SANE staff are trained on this policy.

The information requested in the guided service referral form is essential for assessing your needs and delivering quality support. This form and all associated personal data are securely stored within our health system, separate from our website. Your personal information won't be shared with any third parties unless you provide consent or there is an imminent risk of harm to you or someone else.

To learn more about how we’re protecting your privacy, please visit sane.org/privacy

Do you share any information with outside parties?

Yes, but only in extremely limited circumstances. For example, if there is an 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.

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. 

How secure is the guided service participant portal?

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 my Privacy and Confidentiality in the guided service. Who can I contact?

Email us at 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. You can read our feedback and complaints policy and/or provide feedback or make a complaint at 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 with our response, you can take your complaint to the government health complaints body in your state or territory. 

Australian Capital Territory

Health Services Commission
Website: hrc.act.gov.au/complaints/

New South Wales

Health Care Complaints Commission
Website: hccc.nsw.gov.au/health-consumers
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Northern Territory

Health and Community Services Complaints Commission
Website: hscc.nt.gov.au
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Queensland

Office of the Health Ombudsman
Website: oho.qld.gov.au

South Australia

Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner
Website: hscc.sa.gov.au
Phone: 1800 232 007
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tasmania

Health Complaints Commissioner
Website: healthcomplaints.tas.gov.au;
Phone: 1800 001 170
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Victoria

Health Complaints Commission
Website: hcc.vic.gov.au
Phone: 1300 582 113

Mental Health Complaints Commission
Website: mhcc.vic.gov.au
Phone: 1800 246 054
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Western Australia

Health and Disability Services Complaints Office
Website: hadsco.wa.gov.au
Phone: 1800 813 583
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Still have questions? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


CRISIS SUPPORT SERVICES

SANE services are not designed for crisis support. If you require immediate support, please contact one of the service providers below.

If you need immediate support and can’t reach us, contact the services below. In an emergency contact 000. 

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