Mental health and suicide prevention

South Eastern NSW has high rates of mental and behavioural disorders and psychological distress amongst adults, with a greater burden borne by Aboriginal people and those living in rural areas.

In 2014, the National Health Commission undertook a review of mental health services and found they were not well targeted or tailored to local needs. The implementation of a stepped care approach to mental health and suicide was recommended, and COORDINARE is dedicated to leading this reform across the South Eastern NSW region.

Mental health is a key priority area for COORDINARE, read our Implementing a stepped care approach to mental health and suicide prevention statement for more information. To find out more about digital mental health resources, click here.

For a downloadable list of support services we fund, click here.

Bushfire Support Counselling - CatholicCare

Provides free counselling to support individuals, families and communities impacted by bushfires. Visit the CatholicCare website here, or view the flyer. Please see our bushfire support page for further information.

Complex Mental Health - Grand Pacific Health

Provides mental health nursing support and peer worker support to people with complex mental health needs for the Illawarra and Southern NSW regions. Visit the Grand Pacific Health website here.

Complex Mental Health - Flourish Australia

Provides individual and group psychosocial support services to people with complex mental health needs in the South Eastern NSW region. Visit the Flourish Australia website here.


COORDINARE funds headspace centres across the region, located in Bega Valley, GoulburnQueanbeyanNowra and WollongongAn interim bushfire service is also set up in Batemans Bay, and will operate until the full headspace centre is established later this year.

NewAccess - Wellways

NewAccess is a free, six-session program that gives people practical ways to manage stress and get on top of issues emerging in their daily lives. The program is completely confidential and does not require a referral from a doctor. It is available to all people over the age of 16 throughout the South Eastern NSW PHN region. Visit the NewAccess webpage for more info.

Psychological therapies - Grand Pacific Health

Provides individually tailored, flexible psychological therapies primarily through face-to-face consultations across South Eastern NSW. Visit the Grand Pacific Health website here.

Psychological therapies - Royal Far West

Provides telehealth mental health services to children aged 0-15 years with mild to moderate mental health issues, and their families, in Southern NSW and the Shoalhaven. Find out more here.

Psychiatry Support Line for GPs – ProCare Mental Health Services

This is a free service for GPs who require psychiatry advice on the phone or via secure messaging. Jointly funded by COORDINARE, Central and Eastern Sydney, Hunter New England and Central Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern Sydney, Western NSW, North Coast and Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Networks (PHNs), it is exclusively for GPs practising in these regions. For more information go to

Rural Outreach Mental Health Service

Provides support to people with complex mental heath issues via specialist mental health treatment in Southern NSW and the Shoalhaven. Find out more here.

Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

COORDINARE funds the four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in the South Eastern NSW region to provide culturally safe mental health / social and emotional wellbeing services, as well as Strong Yawa, an after hours support service for the Shoalhaven region. This service is delivered by Waminda for local Aboriginal peoples who are experiencing suicidality, acute mental illness, and / or alcohol and other drug issues. 

The South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation are also funded to deliver culturally appropriate mental health and suicide prevention education and training programs in local schools. See our Aboriginal health page for more information.

For more information on how commissioning works, click here.

Stepped care is a staged system of interventions that match an individual’s needs, ranging from the least to the most intensive.

The multiple levels of a stepped care approach offer a spectrum of service options, allowing an individual to access the right service to meet their needs at the right time, in the right place, to maintain their wellness or support their recovery back to wellness.

Download the 10 stepped care principles that COORDINARE has adopted. Also read the Australian Government's stepped care implementation guide for more information. For details on COORDINARE's Integrated Primary Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (Stepped Care) approach for the South Eastern NSW region, click here.

COORDINARE undertook a review of mental health and suicide prevention services across the South Eastern NSW region. We consulted with consumers, carers and service providers and found:

  • an inequitable distribution of primary mental health services across the South Eastern NSW region
  • high rates of hospitalisation for self-harm, particularly for young people and Aboriginal people of all ages
  • increasing rates of mental health related hospitalisation overall.

The South Eastern NSW Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is being implemented over the next five years in collaboration with Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD).

The plan identifies nine priority areas against which key actions are identified which involve working together across program and government boundaries and with consumers and other stakeholders to reduce the impact of mental illness and suicide in our region.

For more information, download the South Eastern NSW Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Effective suicide prevention requires coordinated effort across sectors, organisations and communities. The Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan adopts a collaborative system based approach to suicide prevention across South Eastern NSW. Strategies and initiatives range from whole of community health promotion initiatives, through to design and commissioning of services that improve supports available to individuals at risk of suicide.

Together with a broad range of organisations and community groups, COORDINARE identify opportunities for system improvements, and design and implement new suicide prevention initiatives tailored to local needs.

Some of the strategies COORDINARE are actively working on include; 

  • working with the Local Health Districts to improve crisis and follow up care for individuals following a suicidal crisis
  • commissioning new services and working with existing services to improve access to evidence based treatment for suicidality
  • supporting GP’s and primary care to better identify and support people experiencing suicidality
  • learning from people with a lived experience and working with communities to raise awareness and tackle stigma
  • training key gate keepers within our community
  • supporting safe media reporting
  • understanding our community and data so that activities and resources are directed where they are most needed.

COORDINARE works with partners matched to the two Local Health District regions. For more information or to get involved in activities in the Southern NSW region contact Peter Murray,

COORDINARE also works closely with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative and supports the implementation of the Black Dog institutes Lifespan trial throughout the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours)

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour, 7 days a week crisis support and suicide prevention services.

beyondblue - 1300 22 4636  

beyondblue provides 24 hour, 7 days a week information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Brother to Brother is a 24-hour hotline assisting Aboriginal men during COVID-19. The line is staffed by Aboriginal men, including Elders, to ensure it is culturally safe. Call 1800 435 799.

QLife - 1800 184 527 

QLife operates from 3pm to midnight, 7 days a week providing anonymous, LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.

For other helpline services, please click here.

If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.