PROGRAMS | VTMH Programs and Strategies

VTPU strategic directions integrate four major program areas designed to build local capacity. Long term partnerships and supportive links with the VTMH provide services with a range of options for improving the reach and depth of culturally responsive programs.


A central feature of the approach taken with specialist mental health services is in the direction of establishing equal partnerships through coaching, mentoring, training and assisting with internal planning processes. Engagement with services focuses on developing a core group of skilled clinicians and mental health workers, or local ‘champions’, who receive continued support and resources from the VTPU. Assistance in this area can be provided by requesting:

Based on exploration of local capacity and willingness to partner with VTMH to improve services for CALD communities. Cultural Portfolio Holders (CPH’s) are linked with and supported by VTMH. They are a pivotal link in establishing a core group of local staff with an interest in building on existing clinical skills, organizational initiatives, and local social capital.

Following a consultation VTMH staff work with local Cultural Portfolio Holders and key staff to develop service partnerships. Strategies are focused on community initiatives and local partnerships as well as clinical issues. The VTMH continues to work with other state-wide partners to compliment and inform the range of services available to CALD clients. We welcome feedback and advice on our programs and strategies to enable improved service delivery. Assistance in this area can be provided by requesting:

  • A CALD service development consultation and partnership planning meeting with VTMH staff
  • Extended involvement of VTMH in local CALD issue training, planning, and strategic development
  • Assistance with internal planning and policy initiatives
  • Coaching and mentoring on CALD issues for key staff and departments
  • Extended VTMH support and resources for Cultural Portfolio Holders and CALD interest groups
  • Assistance with community development initiatives
  • Extended links between CPH’s and VTMH
  • Greater involvement in VTPU programs, strategies and feedback forums
To view VTMH's current partnerships, click here



VTPU operate an external enquiry and clinical support line from 9am to 5pm daily (this service can also be accessed by using this website or emailing Staff in specialist mental health services and PDRR’s can call 9288 3300 to obtain:

  • access to cultural information
  • case discussions
  • assessment/case management training,
  • on-site service development consultations.


In 2009 the VTMH offered a course in cultural competence consisting of six stand alone modules. Education initiatives are targeted towards complimenting service development initiatives including human resource development, organizational, and strategic issues. Staff in specialist mental health services can negotiate with consultants to complete individual modules or all six within a six month period or over a longer time frame. It is recommended that Cultural Portfolio Holders complete the course as soon as possible. A monthly seminar series continues to present and encourage discussion on topical issues relevant to the field. Assistance in this area can be provided by requesting:

  • A training needs analysis through service consultations
  • Enrolling for individual modules, seminars or the six module cultural competence course
  • Requesting training in specific CALD related areas in support of partnership goals


Research and evaluation projects continue to provide evidence for the work of the VTMH. Strong links with the Centre for International Mental Health at Melbourne University promote information flow and dissemination. Research activities relevant to specialist mental health services are encouraged. Assistance in this area can be provided by requesting:

  • Assistance with evaluating local initiatives
  • Advice on research initiatives
  • Relevant CALD data from national and state-wide data bases
  • Resources and information
From 2011, the VTMH has offered an an expanded Secondary Consultation Service to be co-facilitated with Cultural Portfolio Holders (CPHs) who are based in services that have formed a partnership with the VTMH and who have undertaken cultural competence training delivered by the VTPU.
The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service is an expansion of the existing VTMH External Enquiry Service and is based on a pilot project conducted by the VTMH in 2009 and 2010.
The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service will be made available to services that have formed a partnership with VTMH.  Such partnerships encompass a range of strategies to enhance cultural responsiveness through organisation change related to internal plans and priorities, and service development activities including education and training.  The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service will build on the knowledge and skills already in existence or recently acquired during the VTMH Cultural Competence Training "Culturally competent mental health service provision for a multicultural society".
The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service is intended to offer service providers with an opportunity to consult with VTMH Service Development Consultants representing a multi-disciplinary perspective of treatment and recovery care.  It is proposed that CPHs will coordinate and participate in the secondary consultations.
The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service is available to mental health practitioners who may seek input from the VTMH regarding either a case that they have been involved in directly, or regarding a case on behalf of a colleague within their service where particular cross-cultural issues in assessment and recovery planning have been raised.  Primary consultation will not be provided.
  1. To contribute to the equity and quality of services delivered to CaLD clients and carers in specialist mental health services.
  2. To strengthen continuous learning cycles within specialist mental health services.
  3. To engage with local clinical teams and staff to build the capacity of local services to deliver CaLD sensitive practices.
  4. To assist practitioners to integrate cultural considerations into daily clinical practices.
  5. To provide peer support for practitioners working to develop culturally sensitive practice.
  6. To assist mental health services to develop approaches responsive and responsible to diversity.
  7. To support existing expertise in area mental health services including collaboration with Cultural Portfolio Holders (CPHs) and Bilingual Case Managers (BCMs).


  1. The secondary consultation will be open to mental health practitioners from Specialist Mental Health Services who have entered into a collaborative partnership with VTMH (as described above).
  2. The referring practitioner will identify and invite those other people relevant to the success of the treatment plan and/or involved in the treatment team.  This might extend to the General Practitioner of others, taking into consideration the Specialist MHS privacy and confidentiality policies.
  3. All referrals to the VTMH Secondary Consultation Service are to be made by the referring practitioner in collaboration with the CPH on their team.
  4. The CPH will provide the referring practitioner with an electronic copy of the VTMH Secondary Consultation Service Referral Form (attached).
  5. The VTMH Secondary Consultation Service Referral Form will be completed and forwarded by the referring practitioner (in collaboration with their CPH) to the Secondary Consultation Service Coordinator two weeks prior to the date of the consultation.
  6. The referral can be forwarded online or by facsimile.
  7. Secondary consultations will have a 90 minute duration and will be provided to the Specialist Mental Health Service on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays at a schedule frequency and time to be negotiated.
  8. The secondary consultation will be held at the site where the referring practitioner is based.
  9. There will be a rotating roster across teams with the Specialist MHS, to be generated by the CPH of that service.
  10. The referring practitioner and host CPH will be responsible for booking an appropriate on-site venue.
  11. CPHs will be asked to co-facilitate the session and assist in making necessary arrangements.
  12. The hosting CPH will be invited to participate in a pre-consultation planning meeting at VTPU prior to the secondary consultation occurring.
  13. Publicity for each secondary consultation will include information about the location of the vent and request a RSVP to be send to the referring practitioner and host CPH - for determining seating, catering, handout number etc.
  14. Feedback from those service providers who attended the session will be sought and each participant will be asked to complete a VTMH Secondary Consultation Service Feedback Form (attached).
  15. Follow-up feedback will be sought from the referring practitioners three weeks and three months following each session.


  1. VTMH staff will provide an orientation to the session, including an outline of the session and learning objectives, introduction of the speakers and explain assessment and evaluation processes.
  2. The referring practitioner will present the case, facilitated by the CPH (approximately 20 minutes).
  3. VTMH staff will facilitate a discussion regarding cross-cultural issues raised in the individual's assessment and regarding the individual's treatment/recovery program.
  4.  VTMH staff will facilitate a discussion regarding organisation issues raised by the individual case.
  5. At the conclusion of the session, Participant and Facilitator Feedback form will be completed.
  6. The discussion will be documented by the VTMH and will be prepared as a formal document in the form of a cultural formulation report with references.  This will then be forwarded to the referring practitioner and CPH.


Please direct referrals via:

Harvey Tuck, VTMH Secondary Consultation Service Coordinator

Tel: 03 9288 3317


VTMH External Enquiry Service

Tel: 03 9288 3300

Fax: 03 9288 3370

Online (preferred):