FAQ’s about our Accredited Mental Health Social Work Service

What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSW) are registered providers with Medicare Australia. They have been assessed on behalf of the Commonwealth Government by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist mental health expertise.  An AMHSW is eligible to provide services through the Commonwealth-funded Better Access to Mental Health Care and Chronic Diseases Management (Enhanced Primary Care) programs.  Social workers are also providers in the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) Program.  AMHSW’s have a breadth of experience in assessing and treating people who have mental health problems, for example people experiencing:

  • Lucy Van Sambeek (AMHSW) working with a refugee client

    Depression and other mood disorders

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Relationship problems
  • Life crises
  • Adjustment issues
  • Trauma
  • Family conflict

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers help individuals to resolve their presenting psychological problems, the associated social and other environmental problems, and improve their quality of life. This may involve family as well as individual counselling, and group therapy.  Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.

Like other allied health professionals, such as psychologists, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers use a range of interventions in helping people with mental health disorders, including the following Focused Psychological Strategies:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Skills training including problem solving, managing emotions and stress, social skills and parenting skills
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Psycho-education (including Motivational Interviewing)
  • Narrative therapy

When should I refer to an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?

Patients often approach their GP with concern about negative life circumstances, for example relationship breakdown, life crisis or social isolation.  These often point to, or are accompanied by, significant and persistent mental health problems.  AMHSW’s understand mental disorders, and have particular training, skill and expertise to assess and offer treatment.
Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are also experienced in working collaboratively with other health professionals.

How do I refer?

You have two options to refer a patient to us.

1.   Under Medicare’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, GP’s can formulate a Mental Health Treatment Plan and provide a referral letter to the patient.  The patient can then contact us to arrange an appointment.
The patient can access to up to 10 sessions of Focused Psychological Services per calendar year.  Fees are $120 with a Medicare rebate of $100.30 (outreach rate).  Bulk billing can be requested for patients experiencing financial difficulty or holding a current Health Care/Pension Card.

2.  Connect To Well-being is a free counselling service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health concerns, and who are experiencing financial distress.  Eligible people receive 10 counselling sessions, usually 60 mins in duration.  We provide services in the Nambucca Valley to the following priority groups:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI)
  • People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD)
  • Children up to the age of 12
  • Homelessness or people at risk of becoming homeless
  • Rural and Remote (Clients residential address much be classified as an RA3 area.)
  • Drought Affected
  • Affected by Extreme Climatic Events

Referrals to Connect to Wellbeing can be made by GPs, primary health professionals, local area health providers and Department of Education services.  Fill out this Referral-Form and send to Neami National by fax on 02 8212 8936 or email to connecttowellbeingNC@neaminational.org.au.  Neami will then notify us of your referral and we will contact the client.

What feedback will I receive?

It is a requirement of these programs that a referring GP or mental health professional will be provided with a written progress and final report providing information on assessments, treatment provided and recommendations for future management.

What are our specialty areas?

Lucy Van Sambeek has over a decade of experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, men, children, families and communities . who have been touched by the effects of domestic and family violence, child abuse, deep trans-generational grief and loss, mental health issues, alcohol and drugs, and other traumas.

Lucy has over a decade of experience working with Aboriginal children, youth and their families

These are the kinds of issues we can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Behaviour Problems
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Grief and Loss
  • Health
  • Inter-generational trauma
  • Life Transition and Adjustment Issues
  • Managing emotions
  • Meditation
  • Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Relaxation
  • School Issues
  • Self-Esteem and Self-Development
  • Self-Harm
  • Shyness & social skills
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Well-being

Lucy has a range of skills and experience in facilitating groups for mental health and wellbeing

Our Approach to social work practice incorporates

  • Narrative Therapy
  • Neurobiological, Trauma-Informed therapy
  • Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Strengths-based practice
  • Eco-therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Mindfulness & Relaxation
  • Psycho-education

Our Services include

  • Outreach to public nature spaces
  • Home and school visits
  • Group Sessions
  • Online consultations

Where do you provide services?

In an outreach capacity in the Nambucca Valley region (Nambucca Heads, Macksville and Bowraville).

How can I connect with you in a professional capacity?

Connect with us on LinkedIn or contact us directly.
You will find our profile on HealthKit, our web-based practice management system.

We look forward to working with you to provide professional assessment, counselling, and a range of treatment and support options to your patients.  We would love the opportunity to meet with you personally, so please get in touch.


AMHSW Brochure for General Practitioners
AMHSW Brochure for Clients