How we do it

In 2018 Brisbane South PHN embarked on a co-design journey to inform our vision for an integrated person centred service model enabled by a strong primary health sector – building on the strengths of our existing programs, while addressing service barriers to improve accessibility.

Our co-designers included people with lived experience, carers and close supporters, people from priority groups including young people, LGBTIQ, culturally and linguistically diverse, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a range of service providers, General Practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses, and government organisations. The co-designers took part in discovery workshops, generating opportunities and ideas, prototyping, and giving and gathering feedback through testing and learning loops over a number of months.
Learn more about co-design: What is Co-design?

This valuable process resulted in the design and commissioning of a new person centred service model that was established in July 2019.
What you told us…

Using co-design, participants told us that the attitudes and behaviours of service providers matter as much as the type of service they receive.
This process led to the development of a new model that is governed by overarching principles that services have agreed to uphold, and service that starts with “how can I help you?”

You can watch this video to find out more about how we commission services.


Through our co-design we identified a clear gap in service coordination and navigation which resulted in the development of new ‘connector’ roles.

The connector works with people looking for mental health support and broader navigation support. They support people to get the care and support they need – whether that is social, emotional, housing, income, drug and alcohol, sexual health, etc. Their ultimate goal is supporting access and recovery as defined by the person seeking care.

Brisbane South PHN

Within the new mental health model Brisbane South PHN will function as the ‘system facilitator’ and integrator of services. This will involve Brisbane South PHN playing an active role in the region in defining the outcomes that are important to individuals, and working with providers to align their efforts in achieving health outcomes.

Core principles of care

Brisbane South PHN mental health services are guided by core principles of care that were developed within the co-design process. All supports focus on the person at the centre, surrounded by natural and broader community supports. You can find our more by watching the following video: Core principles of care video.

Compassionate practice

Responds to people with compassion and the right level of support.

An effective wellbeing system with multiple entry points led by multiple sectors and communities.

Strong respect for the person as a valuable member of the care team.

Human rights focus

A commitment to human rights.

Wellbeing viewed as a combination of social, psychological, cultural, spiritual and/or physical wellbeing.

Seeing individuals as having distinct and legitimate needs and identities, being curious about what those are and how that might shape their care.

Consumer defined and supporter empowering

Care based on individual desires and goals, not only on clinical conclusions.

Focussed on meeting immediate needs and priorities as defined by the individual.

Ensures closest supporters feel seen, heard and have their own mental health needs met.

Equity of access

Employs a mix of peer, cultural, medical and allied health workforces.

Focused on equity of access, building strengths and improving long term life and health outcomes for the individual and their supporter network.

Cultural respect and capability

Multicultural system, with a deep commitment to First Australians and people of all cultural backgrounds.

Resources are used to leverage/evolve a broad menu of comprehensive and effective community-based responses.