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Table 1 Key features of enhanced Indigenous ATAPS services and the general ATAPS initiative

From: Enhanced primary mental healthcare for Indigenous Australians: service implementation strategies and perspectives of providers

Key feature General ATAPS Indigenous Mental Health Service Indigenous Suicide Prevention Service
First introduced July 2001 July 2010 July 2011
Primary target group Australians with high prevalence disorders of mild to moderate severity managed in primary care Indigenous Australians with high prevalence disorders of mild to moderate severity managed in primary care Indigenous Australians at moderate risk of suicide or self-harm managed in primary carea
Mandatory initiative for Medicare Locals Yes Yes No
Eligible referrers • GP • Psychiatrist • Mental health professional • Paediatrician • GP • Psychiatrist • Mental health professionalb • Paediatricianb • Indigenous health organisation / Aboriginal community controlled health serviceb • GP • Mental health professional • Paediatrician • Emergency department • Hospital ward • Indigenous health organisation / Aboriginal community controlled health service • Drug and alcohol service • Acute mental health team
Annual session limit 6–12 (18 in exceptional circumstances) individual and 12 group sessions 6–12 (18 in exceptional circumstances) individual and 12 group sessions Unlimited individual sessions during three month period
Other flexibilities • Low or no cost to client • Low or no cost to client • Introduced narrative therapy as a permissible ATAPS intervention • New outreach modality • Sessions can involve the whole family • Low or no cost to client • No diagnosis or GP mental health treatment plan required at referral • Sessions can involve the whole family • Clinician contacts client within 24 h and provides first session within 72 h of referral (or earlier, as required)
  1. Acronyms: ATAPS Access to Allied Psychological Services, GP General Practitioner
  2. Note: Key features as of June 2015. a Not suitable for individuals at acute risk, or with recurrent thoughts, of suicide or self-harm who are more appropriately managed by state and territory mental health services. b Provisional referrals require a GP or psychiatrist prepared mental health treatment plan ideally within 2 weeks of the first session, or as soon as practical