Our Mental Health Service

Boab Health Services is committed to delivering high-quality, evidence-based stepped-care mental health services for people in the Kimberley.

We aim to support people to enhance their self-management skills to improve their mental health outcomes. We offer a range of short-to-medium term supports, including psychological counselling, psycho-education, self-help strategies, group programs and referrals to other supports and resources, including online and telephone counselling options.  

This page is designed to help health professionals with the referral process for our various mental health services.

Visit Our Service – Mental Health for a comprehensive guide to our mental health services and programs

Service eligibility

To be eligible for our mental health service, the individual must be experiencing barriers to accessing the MBS system (e.g. low income, job insecurity, social isolation etc.). The person cannot be accessing an MBS service concurrently.

The type of intervention offered to the individual is based on the severity of their presentation.  The severity of presentation is determined from the information included in your referral and our intake assessment of the individual.

Priority clients

Priority is given to individuals who are at disproportionate and inequitable risk of poor health outcomes including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse people (CALD)
  • People of diverse sexuality and / or gender (LGBTIQ+).

Exclusion criteria

We do not provide the following services:

  • long-term therapy
  • support for clients in an acute phase of illness
  • immediate or urgent support (e.g. within  7 days)
  • treatment for complex post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, dementia, delirium, tobacco use disorder or intellectual disability.

Mental Health Service Locations

We provide services in Balgo, Bidyadanga, Billiluna, Broome, Dampier Peninsula communities, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kalumburu, Kununurra, Mulan, Warmun, Wyndham and some communities in the Fitzroy Valley. Visit our locations and frequency of service map for more details.

Treatment plan pathway

Eligibility for our different mental health services

Adult counselling service – severe and persistent mental illness (Kimberley-wide)

Our Integrated Care Management Program (ICMP) is reserved for clients with a severe and persistent mental illness who are not currently engaged with any other mental health caseworker or care-coordinator service. 

To be eligible for this service the person needs to have at least 12 months history of a mental disorder in which they have experienced at least one of the following: 

  • an episode of mania 
  • a non-fatal attempt at suicide
  • severe role or overall functional impairment 

We also require:

  •  a GP Mental Health Care Plan
  •  Client (verbal) consent to the referral and motivation to actively engage in the program (in regular consultation with a GP to monitor overall health status)

Click here for the ICMP referral form.

Child Mental Health Services (Broome)

Our Broome-based Child Mental Health (CMH) service provides individual counselling to children aged 0-12 years and their parents/carers. This service aims to assist children and families to address common mental health concerns. 

Our child counselling service utilises effective and appropriate evidence-based child-specific modalities and interventions such as play therapy, and child-centred parenting support, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness strategies. 

This service aims to provide a developmentally appropriate and natural way for children to communicate and express feelings and experiences.

A GP referral is required for this service.  Click here for our CMH referral form

For more information on this service click here.  To download our brochure click here Insert boab brochure

Youth Counselling (Kununurra) 

Our Youth Counselling program provides individual counselling and family support for young people living in Kununurra.

To be eligible for this program the young person must be 10 to 18 years old, at risk of developing a mental health condition and be enrolled at a Kununurra school.

Our youth counselling service utilises effective and appropriate youth-specific modalities, a range of creative therapeutic engagement tools, as well as relevant group-based options to complement the individual based services.

We require parent or guardian consent and a GP referral to access this service.  Link to our MH referral form

To download our brochure click here.

Other programs in Wyndham and Balgo

A Better Life (ABLe) Program – Wyndham

The ABLe program aims to improve the independence, participation and long-term lifetime wellbeing of people living in Wyndham who are affected by mental health issues, which includes issues with drug and alcohol misuse and/or gambling.

This program includes building personal resilience and supporting participants to sustainably manage the impacts of their mental health issues. This program is open to people living in Wyndham, who are aged 16 to 65 years.

Contact our Youth & Community Support Coordinator (ABLe Program) on 0437 589 842 or email mhek2@boabhealth.com.au

Community Development – Balgo

This program supports culturally safe, community-driven strengths and resilience initiatives to promote mental health and wellbeing for people living in the remote communities of Balgo, Billiluna and Mulan. Our mental health community development officer is based in Balgo Aboriginal community every two (2) out of every three (3) weeks.  

We do not require referrals to our ABLe program in Wyndham or to the Community Development program in Balgo.

Contact our Balgo Community Development Officer on 0438 899 297 or email giancarlo.mazzella@boabhealth.com.au

Referral forms and pathways

We require a referral for the majority of our programs and services.  You can find our mental health referral form here. Please contact us if you would like a Microsoft Word version of this referral form to upload to your patient management system.

Who do we accept referrals from?

We accept referrals from doctors/GPs, psychiatrists, paediatricians, remote area nurses, midwifes and maternal and child health nurses, or from Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Services (KMHDS) professionals (includes CAMHS).

What about self-referrals?

Self-referrals, referrals from other agencies and referrals from friends or family will also be considered where there is difficulty obtaining a GP referral, particularly in remote communities. Where the referral is not from a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician,  our team will seek to obtain GP endorsement of the proposed treatment plan after we have completed our initial assessment.

Please ensure the referral includes:

  1. The specific service you require
  2. The client’s current contact details including a telephone number, PO box or street address
  3. K10, K5 or SDQ (for children) objective measure as indicated on the referral form

Where do I send the referral?

Email:  reception@boabhealth.com.au
Fax:  (08) 9192 7999
Via MMEx Secure Messaging:  ‘Boab Health – Counselling’

Do I need to include a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) with the referral?

No, a MHCP is not essential. However ,it is helpful for our clinicians to have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) or a Chronic Deisease Management Plan (formerly EPC plan) included with the referral. This provides us with a holistic view of the client’s health and wellbeing and the flexibility to treat the client under MBS if their presentation is more suited to the Medicare funding criteria.

Referral process

  1. Once we receive the mental health referral, we will triage the referral and send a confirmation letter to the referring GP.
  2. Our Triage and Assessment officer will arrange an appointment with the client to undertake the initial assessment and develop a treatment plan. The treatment plan will typically recommend individual counselling, phone or online support via PORTS, referral to a group program or an alternative service, or a combination of these, as appropriate.  
  3. We will inform the referrer of the treatment plan. Where counselling is indicated, both the referrer and client will be made aware of the wait time to engage with a counsellor. Interim support options will be discussed as appropriate. 
  4. The Boab Mental Health clinician allocated to deliver the treatment plan will update the referrer periodically with the client’s progress.

Prompts to consider when referring  

Sometimes we find that clients are not therapy-ready. Inappropriate referrals can demotivate the client and unduly extend our waitlist.  To assist you in determining if a referral to our service is appropriate, our Triage and Assessment team have created the prompts below.  

Has the client consented to a referral? 

It is essential the client understands and supports a referral for counselling.

Is the client contactable and ready to commit to counselling?

We will attempt to contact a client up to three times by telephone. If we do not hear back from the clients, we will send a letter requesting contact. If we do not hear from the client within two weeks from sending the letter, we will close the referral.  

Is the client seeking relationship counselling with his / her partner?

Anglicare WA offers relationship counselling in Broome and Kununurra.

Is this a situational crisis that is likely to resolve over a relatively short period of time? 

As we are a free service with funding limitations our wait times can sometimes be up to three months. Other services may be more appropriate for immediate or situational concerns or crises, including telephone counselling via PORTS, employee assistance programs or private practitioners.  See below for more information on how to refer to these services.

You may also be able to link your client with other services in your local area that can assist with practical day-to-day matters.  

Would phone counselling or online support suit your client?

PORTS is a free telephone or online counselling service.  Options include four one-hour telephone counselling sessions, or an 8-week online CBT based program (with telephone support).  

PORTS contact clients very quickly (within a few days) and the service is individualised to meet the client’s needs. PORTS is ideal for a short-term intervention, for example in cases of situational crises and mild mental health problems. PORTS specialise in dealing with anxiety, stress, depression and substance use. 

If this service would be suitable for your client, complete our standard referral form indicating the client would like a PORTS referral.

Would the client access a private psychologist / counsellor?

A number of private psychologists / counsellors are available in Broome. These private services can be accessed through a GP Mental Health Care Plan. The fee gap ranges from no charge (bulk billed) to up to $100 per session, depending on the practitioner. Private practitioners generally have a much shorter wait time for treatment and may have speciality / interest areas that might be better suited to your client’s presentation. Also, private psychologists are better placed to assist clients with medico-legal issues and cognitive disorders or neuro-psychology concerns. 

Please contact our Triage and Assessment Officer if you would like information about private practitioners available in the Kimberley.

Does the client have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

Some clients may have access to an EAP through their employer that provide employee counselling (often also available for family members). Your client may not have considered accessing their EAP.   

Is the client aged between 12 and 25, and lives in Broome? 

Headspace (insert link) is a multidisciplinary service for young people aged 12 to 25 years. They often have a shorter wait time for assistance.

Are there alcohol and other drug issues involved? 

A referral to the Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service (KMHDS) Community Alcohol and Drug Services team for counselling is required if the presenting issue is problematic alcohol and / or other drug (AOD) use. Once the AOD problem has resolved as the primary concern, our mental health clinicians can provide counselling to address other ongoing issues. For other AOD service providers, see the end of this page.

How do we treat DNA’s?

For initial appointments, we typically allow two DNAs (without client making contact) before closing the referral.

Is the referral form completed accurately? 

Please ensure you complete all the fields on the referral form or send a comprehensive MHCP. This ensures we are able to process the referral, triage and contact the client in a prompt and timely manner.



Our programs are primarily funded by WAPHA and we operate within the scope of their program guidelines.

Our staff

Our team is made up of highly skilled mental health professionals with expertise and experience in supporting a variety of mental health conditions.

Other support services Kimberley wide:

WACHS’s Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service
Broome tel: (08) 9194 2640
Kununurra tel: (08) 9166 4350

WACHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Broome tel: (08) 9194 2640
Kununurra tel: (08) 9166 4350

AOD service providers in the Kimberley

Milliya Rumurra Aboriginal Corporation  (Broome and Kununurra) Tel: (08) 9192 1699

Cyrenian House  (Broome)

Ngnowar Aerwah Rehabilitation Centre – (08) 9161 2109 (Wyndham)

Other support services in Broome: 

The Broome Recovery Centre tel: (08) 9192 5296

Other support services in Kununurra: 

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