Twenty percent* of Australians will experience a mental health disorder every year. Many suffer in silence. Asking for help is often the hardest part, but you’ve found the right place to seek help. We have extensive experience in supporting people to find the right services to manage their mental health.

At Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS) we assist people living with mental illness by making it easier to access the health and community services they need to manage their lives.

We understand that navigating the mental health and social care system can be complicated and often overwhelming. There are many options for managing mental illness, but knowing where to find these is critical. And that’s where our proficiency lies – we have expertise in care coordination, linking and support services for people living with mental illness, long-term health conditions and complex needs.

Our service specialists can help present the options available and offer advice on the best avenues of care specific to individual needs.

Stats from the Black Dog Institute.

Plus Social

Plus Social is an exciting and innovative program involving ‘social prescriptions’ to help people whose mental health significantly impacts their daily living.

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Well Together Groups

Our Well Together Groups offer the vital social element in our Plus Social program. They are specialised groups providing supported social participation to build wellbeing, inclusion and resilience.

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After Hours Drop-In Service @ The Hub

The Hub is our community-based after hours drop-in centre. It’s a fun, engaging and safe space designed especially for our clients. It’s a place to go after hours

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is social prescribing and why are we using it?

The Plus Social program is based on the social prescribing model of care. Rather than a prescription of medication, social prescribing involves the “prescription” of activities and services to improve wellbeing and quality of life.
It is a relatively new model of care in Australia, but has been used widely internationally, especially in the UK. While the evidence base is still emerging, more than 50 international studies on social prescribing have demonstrated individual improvements in general health and mental wellbeing, as well as reductions in inappropriate health and social service use.
With social prescribing, people have experienced:
  • improvements in self-esteem and confidence
  • a sense of control and empowerment
  • a wider support network
  • reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

What is Primary & Community Care Services?

Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS) is a local non-government, not-for-profit organisation that works to make it easier for people to access the health and community services they need, and make the journey smoother for those who deliver these services. PCCS provides a range of programs that deliver nursing, occupational therapy, social work and psychological support services in the community. PCCS’ strengths lie in care coordination, linking and providing support services.
PCCS has developed and runs the Plus Social program on behalf of the program funder, the Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN). More information on the GCPHN can be found at healthygc.com.au.

Who can participate in the Plus Social program?

Plus Social is for Gold Coast residents who:
  • Reside in the GCPHN catchment area. Check here 
  • Are 12-25 years old and living with, or at significant risk of, serious mental health issues
  • Are 25+ and living with serious mental health issues
  • Living in the community in the Gold Coast area and are supported by a GP or private psychiatrist
  • Would benefit from increased care coordination and links to supports
  • Would like increased social supports or to access social groups
  • Are in need of (non-urgent) additional support beyond GP management, and not receiving supports from Gold Coast Health or Queensland Health.

How can a person participate in the program?

Those eligible can ask their GP or psychiatrist to refer them or they can contact PCCS directly for more information on the program on (07) 3186 4000. The program is by referral from a GP or psychiatrist only. The referral form can be found here.

Is the program voluntary?

Yes, participation is voluntary. Participants can withdraw at any time.

How is this program different to other support services available?

Plus Social uses non-medical interventions to improve the wellbeing, quality of life and social connectedness of participants. This is done through building support networks, increasing confidence and boosting mood. Plus Social works alongside the medical care already received from their GP and/or psychiatrist, and complements any other health and support services being accessed.
Social prescribing can assist people to overcome general barriers in life which may help them to achieve other goals.

What happens once PCCS has received a referral?

A service specialist will contact the person to confirm their participation in the program and schedule an appointment to meet with them at their home or in another quiet/safe place in their local area.
The service specialist will meet with the person, assess their current needs and help them to identify and set goals. They will develop an action plan together. Based on this action plan, the service specialist will then help coordinate the person’s care supports and connect them with appropriate local social activities and services.
PCCS will send the referring GP or psychiatrist a summary of the person’s action plan early in the program, and a summary of the services accessed and links provided to them. However, if the person advises the service specialist not to share their information with the referring doctor, we will not provide this information to the GP.

How long does the support provided through Plus Social last?

Plus Social can run for up to 26 weeks of clinical care coordination based on the person’s individual needs. We encourage participation for as long as the person feels they need the support. Re-referrals are also possible.

What is a service specialist?

A service specialist is an employee of PCCS and is typically a qualified and experienced social worker, occupational therapist, nurse, psychologist or doctor. They have experience and qualifications in the health sector and genuinely care about making a difference to people’s quality of life.
Service specialists connect people to social activities and support services which may be of assistance to them.

What kind of social activities and support services are available, who will run them and where are they held?

Participants will be linked to social activities and support services, both within PCCS and externally in the community in their local area based on their needs and interests. Social activities are group activities such as relaxation, cooking, art, craft and photography classes. Examples of support services include financial counselling, relationship counselling, housing assistance, English language classes and health education.
Social activities are run by PCCS or in partnership between PCCS and existing local providers. The group leaders are professionals with expertise in the specific group activity. Support services are run by existing local providers.
Participants will be encouraged to engage with relevant local social activities and support services and may need to travel locally to access these. This will enable them to tap into a vast network of social and community services.

Is there any cost to participate in the Plus Social program?

There is no cost during involvement with the program and a person can participate in more than one group at any time throughout the program.
The cost of travel for the person to attend social activities or support services is not included in the program and they will be required to cover these costs. We aim to link people with activities and services in their local area to minimise their travel. If travel cost is an issue, we encourage participants to discuss this with their service specialist.

What if the participant doesn’t like their social activity?

Participation is always voluntary and they can opt out at any time. We encourage participants to raise any issues with their service specialist, as we may be able to improve their experience or alternatively link them to another social group activity or support service.

Can participants bring a friend to the social activities?

Unfortunately, a friend will not be able to participate in the social activities because the groups are specifically designed for those people deemed eligible for the program. A service specialist can attend the group activities as a support to the participant if they wish.

What if a person can’t make it to their social activity?

Participants will be given the details of the group leader. We ask that participants inform the group leader if they know they can’t make it. If a person’s personal circumstances change and a scheduled group is no longer convenient for them, their service specialist can discuss alternatives.

Who is involved in the program?

People with a mental illness seriously impacting their daily life may be referred to Plus Social by their GP or psychiatrist. They will be referred to the program provider, PCCS. Their service specialist will be an employee of PCCS, with relevant experience in the field. The service specialist will connect participants to social activity groups and support services which will be run by PCCS in partnership with other local providers.