Referral matrix


The Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix is designed to help you navigate the many services that exist, external to the school system, which support children and young people; and their mental health. It is not an exhaustive list but offers information on some key services available and how to learn more about them. These services are useful sources of information that can be contacted for advice about more specific services that may be available in your area.

To use the Referral Matrix when considering support for an individual child or young person:

  • Select the child or young person’s Age.
  • Select the Main Presenting Issue*.
  • Select your overall Level of Concern.

The Referral Matrix will then provide a description and the contact details of the appropriate support service(s).

*Where an individual is presenting with multiple issues, it is best to consider the recommended services associated with the main or most common presenting issue, or the issue you are most concerned about. You may like to search against different presenting issues and compare the results.

The Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix was developed as part of the SAFEMinds: Supporting Victorian Schools to Intervene Early in Mental Health Project; a partnership between the Department and headspace; the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

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  Specialist referral through a GP

  Age group serviced: All ages
  Service description:

The doctor or general practitioner (GP) is usually the first point of contact for people experiencing health problems. GPs can assess the issue of concern, make a diagnosis, discuss available treatments, prescribe medication where required, offer psychological support and in some circumstances brief counselling, and referrals to other specialists when required e.g. paediatricians, psychiatrists, health professionals, and support groups etc.

GP's are also integral to patients receiving services through government programs such as Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS).

Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program

ATAPS provides access to free or low fee short term psychological services for those with mild to moderate mental disorders for people on low income or in financial distress. Patients are eligible for a maximum of 12 sessions per calendar year - six time-limited sessions with an option for a further six sessions following a mental health review by the referring GP. Sessions can be individual and/or group therapy sessions.

In exceptional circumstances the patient can access an additional six individual focussed psychological sessions above those already provided (up to a maximum total of 18 individual services per patient per calendar year). The GP is responsible for managing the patient's use of these services. For more information, see: Access to Allied Psychological Services.

For more information including local contact details, see:

Yellow Pages.



Making a referral

When contacting health and community services to make a referral it is likely that you will be asked a lot of questions about the child or young person, their situation and your concerns. It can be helpful to prepare for this phone call by collating all your information and writing down some of the following information.

  • Personal details (age, residential suburb, school information etc.)
  • Your main concerns. How long have these problems been present? How have they affected their coping at school and home? Have they had these experiences before?
  • The child or young person’s individual context i.e. possible risk and protective factors particular to the child or young person
  • Details of family history, if applicable.

If suicide ideation is intimated, no matter how often or how vague, a suicide risk assessment should be conducted by a mental health professional or an appropriately trained person within the school setting. Victorian Government schools should refer to Guidelines to assist in responding to attempted suicide or suicide by a student.


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