health update

Community mental health catchment based planning

Mental Health Community Support Services and Alcohol and other Drugs Catchment Based Planning:
North Western Metropolitan Region

In this section:

  • Introduction
  • MHCSS catchment based planning
  • Resources and information
  • Have something to say


Catchment Based Planning is a new function that has come out of the reform of Community Mental Health Services (MHCSS) and Alcohol and other Drug (AoD) Services in Victoria.

cohealth is responsible for coordinating this function for Mental Health Community Support Services. Alcohol and other Drug Catchment Based Planning is being coordinated through a partnership between Odyssey House Victoria and UnitingCare ReGen. Where possible the MHCSS and AoD catchment based planning functions are working together to align our approaches and to identify areas of shared opportunity.

The catchment plans will work to:

  • Identify service gaps and pressures.
  • Develop strategies to better meet client needs.
  • Improve service coordination and integration.
  • Support MHCSS/ AoD service providers to participate in coordination and planning activities.


What is the North West Metropolitan Region?

The North Western Metropolitan Region has a population of almost 1.8 million people, and includes the following catchment areas:

  • Inner North (Yarra, Melbourne, Moonee Valley, Moreland)
  • Northern (Banyule, Darebin, Whittlesea, Nillumbik)
  • North West (Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Melton, Hume)
  • South West (Hobsons Bay, Wyndham).

Click here for map


The MHCSS catchment based planning approach supplements and supports the range of  planning and service coordination mechanisms which already exist. It is informed by the “collective impact” model which involves the commitment of a range of different players from different sectors to create a common agenda for solving specific social problems.

The scope of the project limits the number of broader activities to which it can directly link, however, it is hoped that the project will produce information, knowledge and impetus which can be distributed through partner organisations to inform these activities and organisations. Therefore an important role of the CBP project is to facilitate and coordinate, including providing practical resources and support, to enable organisations to work together and form agreed and shared priorities to improve outcomes for people with a mental illness.

The MHCSS catchment plan has been endorsed by MHCSS providers, the governance group and the Department of Health and Human Services. The plan covers the period to June 2018 with an emphasis on building a collaborative approach to planning and service development.

Download the North Western Region Catchment Based Mental Health Community Support Strategic Plan here

Governance arrangements

cohealth is responsible for leading the preparation and delivery of the catchment based planning project, in partnership with other MHCSS in the NWMR. The development, implementation and review of the plan is overseen by a Governance Group comprising MHCSS representatives, area mental health services, specialist mental health service providers and consumer representatives.

Read the terms of reference for the Governance group here

The Governance group is supported by a Consumer Leadership Group comprising MHCSS consumers and consumer consultants.

Read the terms of reference for the CRWG here

Key contacts:

MHCSS Catchment Based Planning:

Gordon Conochie, Senior Manager, Prevention and Polulation Health Planning:

Michael Bastin, Consumer and Carer Participation Officer:

AoD Catchment Based Planning:

Louise Richardson,


In this section:

  • Local government area summaries
  • Catchment Summaries
  • Stakeholder forum
  • Making Links Forum
  • MHCSS service user information by catchment

Local Government Area Summaries

Coproduced by cohealth and the Odyssey/Regen partnership, the local government area summaries provide a short, usable overview of measures and trends in the local population that are relevant to an AOD and Mental Health planning discussion; summarising demographic, socio economic and health-related data for each of the 14 Local Government Areas in the North Western Metropolitan Region. They predominantly use publically available data viewed through an alcohol and other drug or mental health lens.

They also look at Local Council Health & Wellbeing Plans, Medicare Local Comprehensive Needs Assessments, and Primary Care Partnerships to provide a snapshot of relevant planning priorities within each of these local areas.

South West

North West

North Melbourne

Inner North

Catchment summaries

The catchment summaries combine population level information (distilled from the Local Government Area summaries) and targeted sector consultation to identify local catchment issues and priorities. They were produced as background material to support the May 2015 stakeholder forum.

Stakeholder Forum

A combined MHCSS and AOD Catchment Based Planning forum was held on 5th May at the Darebin Community Arts Centre. It brought together a wide range of relevant stakeholders with an interest in improving health and social outcomes for people with a mental illness and people who use drug and alcohol services.

The forum provided an opportunity to build networks in the new service system, to test emerging understanding of the catchments and issues, discover what activities were already underway, and to explore opportunities and priorities for action.

Read the report from the stakeholder forum

Making Links Forum

During 2015 the Northern and Western Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and Mental Health Catchment Based Planners and Homelessness Networkers established a joint project to progress the shared priorities of improving coordination and linkages across the three sectors in Melbourne’s north and west. We acknowledge the participation of the Department of Health and Human Services in the forum.

The consultation phase of the project commenced with three components:

  • A one day data collection snapshot completed by workers in the three sectors: this was to get a picture of clients that might access services in our three sectors on any one day.
  • A survey of workers in the three sectors: to start to quantify workers’ views on the strengths and opportunities for improving the integration between sectors.
  • A cross sector Making Links Forum, held on 3 December 2015: bringing the sectors together to create a shared understanding of how clients are accessing services; how each service system operates; and, to provide an opportunity to explore how to improve service coordination.

Making Links Forum Report January 2016 (PDF 3MB)

MHCSS service user information by catchment

All individual support package providers contributed a limited set of demographic data for active service users as of the end December 2014. This enabled a comparison of service user characteristics against that of the population, as well as consideration of supply and access issues. While information is provided at a local government level where possible, it is presented at catchment level to promote understanding of the variations and challenges. The summaries also include an initial mapping of service sites and planning activity.

Click here to access an excel table of the data used in the summaries in a tabulated form, information about the data sources and data issues (link to MHCSS service use and population data)

Click here for list of MHCSS data items used and data issues


It is intended that the catchment based planning is a highly collaborative process and also that it builds on and supports existing activity. Contact the catchment based planning team:

MHCSS Catchment Based Planning:

Gordon Conochie, Senior Manager, Prevention and Population Health Planning:

Michael Bastin – Consumer and Carer Participation Officer,

AoD Catchment Based Planning:

– Louise Richardson,

The Consumer Leadership Group is interested in hearing the views of consumers on the areas that have been identified through the process to date.

  • Contact the consumer participation officer in the catchment based planning team.
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