What to expect when calling Triage

Our Triage service is generally the first point of contact for people in the north-western areas of Melbourne who are seeking support through a clinical mental health service.

The Triage service is a telephone-based assessment and support service which operates 24 hours, 7 days a week. It is staffed by senior mental health clinicians, a psychiatric registrar and a consultant psychiatrist.

Triage provides accessible and timely responses to meet individual mental health needs. A VIP telephone line is available to GPs and other mental health service providers, to ensure the most timely response to a call. VIP access can be provided upon request at the health professionals first contact with Triage.

Triage currently receives over 100,000 calls per year, and while we aim to provide a timely response to calls, delays can be experienced at times.

What to expect

When someone calls Triage, the call will be answered by a mental health clinician. The caller will be asked a range of questions to gather information to ensure the most appropriate response is given.

Initial assessment

As a health professional calling Triage, the information we ask you includes:

  • who the call is about and some basic demographic details for that person (name, age, residential address/suburb)
  • whether the person the call is about is aware that the Triage service is being contacted on their behalf
  • a brief description of what is happening for the person (presenting problem, risk, concerns or issues)
  • previous history, diagnoses and medications if relevant/known
  • who else might be involved in the care of the person (for example family and/or carers, a GP, private psychiatrist or private psychologist)
  • any other issues the person may be experiencing (such as safety concerns, other health issues, drug and alcohol issues)

This information contributes to the initial assessment and helps to determine the urgency of the response and type of response required from mental health or other services.

If the situation is deemed an emergency or very serious, the call may be transferred to 000.

Further assessment

The triage process identifies whether the person needs further assessment by the specialist mental health service or other services. If so, Triage makes an appropriate referral.

Support options

If specialist mental health services are not the most appropriate option, you may be provided information about other appropriate services to which you can refer (for example private psychiatrists or another private mental health practitioner, a drug and alcohol service, gamblers help service or medical specialist) or given other advice.

Find out more about specialised support services.