In response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Services and Programs (2015), significant work has been 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 has now commissioned a new service called STEPMI for people with severe and complex mental illness that will commence on 1 July 2018. This service will replace the existing Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP).

The new STEPMI program for people with severe and complex mental illness was designed in close consultation with key stakeholders in each local region of western Victoria. The new service prioritises those people most in need of coordinated care and ongoing treatment who do not have other appropriate service choices within the existing service system.

The program is provided by accredited mental health professionals including mental health nurses, psychologists (registered or clinical), social workers (mental health) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners (AHPRA registered), and provides:

  • 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 service providers

STEPMI is being delivered by one lead provider within each sub-region of Western Victoria PHN. Each lead provider will manage the end-to-end experience for each client commencing at receipt of referrals through to completion of treatment.

Eligibility criteria for STEPMI services

Residential criteria


  • Resides within the Western Victoria PHN catchment
  • Is referred by a general practitioner, pediatrician or private psychiatrist, who certifies that the consumer is under their ongoing care and meets the clinical criteria.

Clinical criteria


  • Has an enduring and persistent mental illness
  • Has a documented plan for the clinical management of their mental health
  • Is unable to access similar services through other funding sources
  • Will require clinical care coordination for at least 12 months
  • Has been admitted to or been an outpatient of acute mental health services within the past 12 months, OR are at risk of requiring inpatient admission without STEPMI intervention
  • Has not receivied case-management from acute mental health services.

Consumers cease to be eligible when they no longer meet the residential or clinical criteria.

How to make a referral to STEPMI

Contact the lead service provider in your region directly via phone or email.

A current list of lead service providers is available by accessing the link below:

STEPMI Service provider list

Further information

Michael Struth
Senior Manager Mental Health
03 5564 5819