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Improving access to high quality mental health services and improving the coordination of care for people experiencing mental health challenges are important goals for NQPHN. 

In 2023, NQPHN will be engaging with the sector to progress a range of exciting initiatives. Some initiatives have a focus on redesigning the current system, so it is easier for people to navigate and access the types of services they need. Other initiatives will focus on commissioning new services. 

Commissioning priorities for 2023 are: 

  • Redesigning mental health stepped care services 

  • Universal aftercare services 

  • Head to Health (Read the Cairns Head to Health announcement here.)

  • Community-based suicide prevention activities 

  • Alcohol and other drugs review  

Across the North Queensland region, NQPHN commissions mental health stepped care services to support people with low, moderate, and high intensity mental health needs. 

NQPHN is responsible for ensuring stepped care arrangements make the best possible use of available services and resources, work effectively across the various levels of need, and address service gaps through commissioning activity.  

Following an independent review of the model and funded services completed in 2022, NQPHN undertook a far-reaching codesign process to design the services and stepped care model that will optimally support people in the region.  

By working with a range of health and social service professionals, people with lived experience of mental health challenges, and other interested community members, NQPHN has been able to design services that will be matched to a person’s needs, rather than their illness or diagnosis.  

A stakeholder summary report has been developed to finalise the codesign process and provide an overview of the vision for the future stepped care model.  

It also provides information on the upcoming procurement approach NQPHN will be taking to commission the new model. This is a public document and can be distributed widely. 


The NQPHN Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Team has compiled the information gathered from the three stepped care workshops held so far into concise one-page summaries. These summaries provide an overview of the current state, future state, attendee breakdown, and key insights ('messages in a bottle'). Click on the links below to read the summaries:

  • Cairns stepped care workshop summary
  • Townsville stepped care workshop summary
  • Mackay stepped care workshop summary

NQPHN and our partner Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) are undertaking codesign activities to inform the implementation of two important mental health and suicide prevention service initiatives.

NQPHN and Mackay HHS are working together to implement new Universal Aftercare services for people who have attempted suicide or are at imminent risk of attempting suicide.

People with a lived experience of mental health challenges or suicide, carers, service providers, GPs, and other stakeholders are invited to register for the codesign sessions. Participation in these events will help to ensure services are designed to truly meet local needs. 

13 November 2023