Life Matters PMHCS

If you feel you need psychological assistance & may be eligible for PMHCS (Primary Mental Health Clinical Services) and reside within the Local Government Areas of Maitland, Dungog, Gloucester, Taree & Forster please make an appointment to see your local GP.

For further information please contact the life matters referral team on

Who can access Life Matters PMHCS?

Our Primary Mental Health Clinical Services (PMHCS) program provides psychological counselling for people who may not have access to other mental health services due to financial barriers. The people in the community which PMHCS benefit are:

  • People who are not able to access Medicare funded mental health services
  • People who are less able to pay fees
  • People who have self harmed or attempted suicide or are at risk of suicide
  • People under the age of 25 or over the age of 65
  • Women experiencing psychological distress in the pre- or post-natal period
  • Carers with a diagnosis of mental illness
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • Children with or at risk of developing a mental disorder

What mental health issues can be seen under Life Matters PMHCS?

Common presenting issues that would be suitable for PMHCS include:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar (mild to moderate)
  • Generalised Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Social Anxiety
  • Adjustment issues relating to psychosocial stressors e.g. relationship breakdown, financial stress
  • Bereavement
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Specific phobias
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Eating disorders (early in presentation)
  • Substance abuse (often secondary to depression and/or anxiety symptoms)
  • Traumatic stress
  • Unexplained somatic complaints

Who is not eligible for PMHCS?

People not eligible for PMHCS include:

  • people with severe mental health illness such as acute psychotic disorders, severe eating disorders, or severe bipolar disorders;
  • people with dementia, delirium, tobacco use disorder, mental health disability disorders;
  • people with acute mental health needs that require hospitalisation or case management support; and
  • people with mental health disorders who will require longer periods of therapy to manage their condition;

*People in the above categories must be referred to more appropriate mental health services and/or specialised treatment services.

What PMHCS programs are available at Life Matters?

  • General Services: PMHCS provides access to effective treatment for people of all ages including children, with a mental illness who may not otherwise be able to access mental health care. People affected by past forced adoption are also able to access support.
  • Child Psychology Service: Supporting children under 14 years of age, who have or are at risk of developing, a mild to moderate mental health, behavioural or emotional disorder, who could benefit from short term focussed psychological strategies.
  • Suicide and Self-Harm (SSH) Program: Suicide Prevention Program: Assisting people who have self-harmed, attempted suicide or who have suicidal ideation.
  • Perinatal Service: Supports parents experiencing perinatal-related depression and anxiety during pregnancy and/or the first 12 months after the birth of their child

What treatment services will be provided under PMHCS?

Psychological therapies we use are referred to as “Focussed Psychological Strategies”. These therapies have been shown to have the best outcomes when provided by experienced mental health professionals, combined with ongoing support from the GP.

For all people referred under PMHCS the mental health professional will provide one or more of the following focused psychological strategies:

  • Psycho-education (including motivational interviewing);
  • Relaxation strategies (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing);
  • Interpersonal therapy (especially for depression);
  • Relaxation strategies (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing);
  • Interpersonal therapy (especially for depression);

Who can refer to PMHCS programs?

Please see above programs for further specific details for further referrer & eligibility details

Number of PMHCS sessions available

People are eligible for an initial six sessions with the option of a further six sessions after a review. In exceptional circumstances an additional 6 sessions are available.

What are the costs?

There is no cost to the patient to access any of the PMHCS programs.