In response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Services and Programs (2015), significant work is being undertaken by Western Victorian Primary Health Network (Western Victoria PHN) to progress mental health reforms that will provide our region with greater flexibility and improved clinical care coordination for people with severe and complex mental illness.

In particular, Western Victoria PHN is currently commissioning a new program called Services and Treatment for Enduring and Persistent Mental Illness (STEPMI) services for providers to deliver primary care led treatment combinations to people with enduring and persistent severe mental illness in our community. STEPMI services are scheduled to commence on 1 July 2018 and will replace the current Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP).

The commissioning of STEPMI services occurs concurrently with the development of a mental health stepped care model for the Western Victoria region. The stepped care model aims to improve service responsiveness across the mental health continuum in primary care, including services for people with severe and complex forms of mental illness, through the delivery of more flexible and innovative service approaches.

To read more about Western Victoria PHN’s consultations on a stepped care model, please visit our website at:

The model will also be developed to ensure existing primary and mental health services funded by Western Victoria Primary Health Network as well as the Australian and State Governments are taken into consideration and integrated effectively to provide a seamless, flexible and innovative mental health service system for our region.

For further detail on this initiative, please read our context paper.

Services and Treatment for Enduring and Persistent Mental Illness (STEPMI)

A Request for Proposal (RFP) for service providers to deliver primary care lead treatment combinations to people with enduring and persistent severe mental illness (SMI) in the community is currently available for download via the Tenderlink Portal at:

It is expected that STEPMI services will include:
• clinical care coordination (including multidisciplinary teamwork coordination and follow up);
• family inclusion and support;
• regular review of progress towards personal goals;
• periodical monitoring of physical and mental state;
• optimised medication planning;
• psychosocial interventions aligned to treatment needs; and
• risk monitoring.

STEPMI services will be provided by accredited mental health professionals including:
• Mental Health nurses;
• Psychologists (registered or clinical);
• Mental health occupational therapists;
• Social workers (mental health); and
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health practitioners (AHPRA registered).

Information Sessions

Two information sessions on the STEPMI RFP will be held for prospective service providers as follows:
• Ballarat/Horsham on Monday 22 January at 3pm (101 Drummond St Nth, Ballarat)
• Geelong/Warrnambool on Tuesday 23rd January at 9am (131 Myers St, Geelong)

If providers cannot attend sessions in person, they may attend via video conference from Horsham (81 Hamilton Street, Horsham) to the Ballarat session or Warrnambool (24-36 Fairy Street, Warrnambool) to the Geelong session. Alternatively a webinar will be made available for review.

Bookings for these sessions (including the webinars) can be made via our Events page here

The closing date for STEPMI RFP submissions will be 12 noon Wednesday 7th February.

*Further information

Michael Struth
Senior Manager Mental Health
03 5564 5819

*Please note: Questions directly relating to the STEPMI RFP should be submitted for formal response via the Tenderlink portal.