Penrith Head to Health - Opening December 2021

Background and Overview

The Federal Government has invested $14 million into the Penrith Head to Health (originally known as Penrith Adult Mental Health Centre) as part of its 2019-20 Prioritising Mental Health budget measure.

The Centre is one of eight being trialed across the country over the next five years, with one located in each state and territory. The Primary Health Network (PHN) has been tasked with delivering the centres, which will provide much-needed support to individuals seeking help, particularly in times of crisis. The Centre will open by December 2021.

Wentworth Healthcare, the provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN, will be delivering the concept in Penrith and is working closely with Neami National who is the lead agency that will operate the Penrith Head to Health.

The Centres are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma soft entry point to engagement and assessment for people who may be experiencing distress or crisis, including people with conditions too complex for many current primary care services but who are not eligible for or awaiting care from state or territory public community mental health. They are also intended to trial approaches to offering immediate, short and medium-term episodes of care and service navigation to connect people to ongoing services. They will assist adults seeking help in times of crisis, or as needs emerge, to have access to on-the-spot care, advice and support provided by a variety of health professionals – without needing a prior appointment.

The Centres are intended to complement, not replace or duplicate, mental health services already provided in the community. They are not designed to offer long term care but will be based on an episode of care model, delivering packages of evidence-based care and family support to cover the short to medium term, which could last from a few weeks to several months based on clinical judgement and individual need. Centres are to provide an accessible, responsive service that meets immediate needs and provides expertise in the assessment of needs, linkage and support, and care. Centres should also provide integrated mental health and AOD services.

If you would like to keep up-to-date with the project by being added to Neami's email newsletter updates, please email Neami at

Please note, the Penrith Head to Health, HealthHub page will expire once the centre is open.

Penrith Head to Health update - October 2021

Service establishment update
Having concluded the co-design process and begun the building fit-out, we see the potential positive effect a purpose-built space will have in supporting mental health and wellbeing.
How the environment feels is embedded in the Head to Health model of support. Light, colour, texture, and sound will all play a part to create a calm, welcoming and inclusive place.
Designed alongside people with a lived experience, Penrith Head to Health will feel different to other services. We are bringing together architects and designers to help create time and space for people in distress or experiencing a crisis.
While we are excited as we head towards our December opening date, remember that the Head to Health Pop Up services are available now to help you connect with the right support.

Neami Penrith Head to Health Establishment Team

Creating a welcoming space for all
At the beginning of October, we gained access to the new site of Penrith Head to Health at 111 Henry Street, Penrith. The team from the Office Fitout Group began work immediately to get the site ready for our December opening.

With just over five weeks until opening, the project is on schedule with major building works underway, our furniture scheduled for delivery, décor and signage elements all in progress. We are drawing from trauma-informed design and our co-design process to create a calm and welcoming space to help everyone feel safe and accepted.

Over the next month, work will continue at pace, ensuring we have a new purpose-built mental health service to support the Nepean Blue Mountains communities.

Town Hall session to learn about Penrith Head to Health
We are continuing the conversation with the community as we develop the new Penrith Head to Health Centre.
We invite you to join us for an online information session to hear what has been happening as we establish this new service in the Nepean Blue Mountains region.
This session is open to everyone and is a forum to share your thoughts and insights around the development of the service.
Register to attend →

A new artwork to represent a new way to access mental health support
To help embed Penrith Head to Health as part of the local community Chris Tobin and Leanne Tobin will create an artwork bringing to life a unique and creative representation of the service.
The commissioned artwork will be part of the design and development of the space, a central piece at the front of the building which will be brought inside to guide you through the interior of the space.

Chris is a Dharug man who works as an artist /educator over much of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Most Saturday mornings, Chris can be found hosting an art camp in the mountains where a welcoming campfire provides an opportunity for informal discussion and a place to relax.
The trees around the camp lend themselves to creating beautiful ochre paintings to be made and kept fresh. A wonderful and safe way of sharing stories and connecting people with Country.

Leanne is a multidisciplinary artist of Irish, English and Aboriginal heritage, descending from the Buruberong and Wumali clans of the Dharug, the traditional Aboriginal people of the Greater Sydney region.Leanne is driven by a strong sense of 'truth-telling' about what happened here on Dharug land.
Through her art she seeks to encourage open and honest dialogue about the past, and to nurture respect and care for Country, reflecting on the intrinsic spiritual connection Aboriginal people have with the land; a connection that is often hidden beneath the concrete and tar of the city and suburbs.

Meet the Penrith Head to Health team
Clinical Services Manager, Leila Ghosh
My background is in psychology and counselling. I majored in grief and trauma and have completed a Masters in Social Work.
Alongside counselling, I have worked in the design, management, and coordination of Alcohol and other Drug (AoD), complex mental health, specialist homelessness support and Out of Home Care programs across Sydney.
I am very excited to be joining the Head to Health team and meeting new people. I bring my experience working with multidisciplinary teams in a trauma-informed and person-centred way to this new service. I'm looking forward to supporting those members of the community who are experiencing mental health issues.

Work with us
There are currently available positions to work at Penrith Head to Health.
Visit the Neami National jobs portal to see how you can help offer a welcoming, safe and inclusive way to support community mental health and wellbeing.
View available Head to Health jobs →

Learn the latest about the new Penrith Head to Health

Neami are continuing the conversation with the community as we develop the new Penrith Head to Health Centre.
We invite you to join us for an online information session to hear what has been happening as we establish this new service in the Nepean Blue Mountains region.
This session is open to all and we will provide a forum to share your thoughts and insights around the development of the service.

Date and time
Wednesday 27 October 2021
4 pm – 4.45pm

Location - online event
Details provided via email following registration

The session runs for 45 minutes

Register to attend

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The Australian Government is funding a trial of eight Adult Mental Health Centres across Australia. The Adult Mental Health Centres will be developed and operate at the local level under the following operational principles. The Centres will:

  1. Offer a highly visible and accessible ‘no wrong door’ entry point for adults and their families to access information and services which are designed to empower, support and improve their psychological and physical health, and social and emotional wellbeing.
  2. Provide information and services which can assist those providing support to people in need.
  3. Provide a welcoming, compassionate, culturally appropriate and safe environment that is inclusive for all people accessing services or supports that are trauma-informed, person-centred and recovery-focused.
  4. Provide access across extended hours to best practice on the spot advice, support and care for immediate, short term, and where appropriate, medium term needs delivered by a multidisciplinary professional health care team providing discipline specific and interdisciplinary care including a suitably trained peer support workforce, nursing and allied health and specialist medical care, without prior appointments or a fee.
  5. Assist people in need to find, access and effectively utilise digital forms of help including information, support and therapies.
  6. Support people to connect to pathways of care through integration with longer term existing community mental health services where these are accessible and appropriate, local Primary Health Network commissioned services, or GPs and state and territory funded services, as required.
  7. Provide an option for intervention and support that may reduce the need for emergency department attendance.
  8. Explore opportunities for the development and utilisation of innovation to complement defined core functions, and to meet gaps in the provision of mental health services in the region.
  9. Implement appropriate confidentiality and privacy arrangements in accordance with relevant legislation.
  10. Operate under robust effective governance frameworks that support connectivity to other supports and services, and conduct local evaluation activities, to ensure transparency and accountability and maximising service quality.

The establishment and implementation of the Adult Mental Health Centres trial will be nationally evaluated to generate new evidence and to guide any future expansion of this initiative.