Here’s where to find mental health support in Western Sydney

For when you’re not feeling all rainbows and sunshine

We all have our rainy days, and it can sometimes be really hard keeping dry. Higher numbers of people in LGBTQ+ communities experience poorer social, emotional and psychological wellbeing and mental health[1]. But, you don’t have to go at it alone – a burden shared is a burden halved. Help is plentiful in Western Sydney, but finding the right fit can be a challenge. Here is our guide to finding queer-friendly mental health professionals (psychologists, counsellors, and other therapists) and services in The Area. 

What’s the difference?

Given they all fall under the mental health support umbrella, these services often get confused for each other. They each have their own distinct purpose, and knowing the difference will help determine which will best fit your needs. 

Psychologists treat and diagnose mental disorders, learning disabilities, and behavioural issues. Counsellors are sought out short-term and focus on identifying and implementing potential solutions to a current problem. Psychotherapists are sought out medium to long-term and focus on the root or historical causes of your problems. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication for mental disorders and tend to treat more severe mental health conditions. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the first three, who can refer you to a psychiatrist when necessary. 

Things to consider when searching for mental health support

Whether you’ve carried the Westie spirit your whole life, or grown up overseas and have found home in The Area, anyone can benefit from mental health support. Here’s what to consider when searching for support.

  • You may not find the right therapist on your first go. Like any good pair of Doc Martens, it can take some time to find the right fit and feel the comfort you’re seeking. Feel free to shop around! 
  • The intersectionality of your cultural background and your queerness can also impact your search. Understanding how these two identity points interact can help inform the topics you discuss with your therapist or counsellor (e.g. family dynamics and hierarchies, attitudes and perceptions of mental health, confidentiality). Atop searching for a queer-friendly professional, it could also be helpful to seek someone who is culturally similar. 
  • Some services aren’t about finding fixes for, and solutions to, your problems. Some are mostly about providing a framework for your emotions and equipping you with tools to cope with, navigate and understand them. Others are simply safe spaces to vent or deflate. When researching or having initial conversations with a therapist, ask them what approaches they use and what that might look like practically in your sessions. 
  • Therapy can sometimes be costly, but thankfully, bulk-billed and partially subsidised options are available through Medicare (see below). A chat with your GP could be helpful in determining which service best aligns with the help you need at your required price point.

How to access a Mental Health Treatment Plan under Medicare

A mental health treatment plan (MHTP) is a personalised and structured programme made in consultation with your GP. This is a series of referrals for mental health professionals, created off the back of a brief mental health assessment (often a questionnaire) with your doctor. A Medicare card is required. 

MHTPs let you claim up to 10 individual and 10 group sessions (bulk-billed or partially paid) with a mental health professional each calendar year. 

GPs also often provide recommendations for local services when organising your MHTP, and they sometimes have availability and pricing information too. 

Related story: Getting tested with a GP  

Where to find queer-friendly and queer-informed therapists in Western Sydney

There are many reputable and easy-to-use online services that can connect you with the help you’re seeking. 

Websites like healthdirect, HealthShare, Psychology Today, and APS each have robust search filters and functions to help identify the right mental health professionals near you (down to the postcode and everything!). Some listings will include whether an individual has an understanding of the queer identity, as well as any non-English languages they may speak. Other key identifiers include whether they operate under private health care or if they accept MHTPs. 

Free & alternative forms of mental health support

Structured and formal help aren’t the only support avenues available. There are other outlets and services you can explore – some that don’t always require an appointment fee or a MHTP. Spending time in community can be really helpful, and sometimes all you need is a safe or quiet space to unpack, feel and deflate. 

Here are some alternatives below:  

Head To Health, Parramatta

Head To Health is just under a 10-minute walk from Parramatta station. This organisation offers immediate support to reduce distress, in-house assessments, and next step/ongoing support. Anyone can reach out for themselves, a loved one or a patient. It is free and no appointment or referral is needed. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 3pm to 7pm.

Think+DO Tank Community House, Fairfield

Nestled a few minutes walk from Fairfield station, this eclectic hub is an all-age all-community space that is open to the public. Packed with books, arts and crafts, and overall good vibes, this community house’s door is open Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. 

Twenty10’s Social Support Discord, online

hangOUT is Twenty10’s Discord group for queer folks aged 13-25! They meet every Tuesday from 4pm to 6pm, alternating between age groups 13-17 and 18-25. Discord is a chat-focussed online forum for people to openly discuss, connect and text. It’s accessible from anywhere via a smartphone, tablet or computer, and is a highly moderated safe space intended for young LGBTQIA+ folks from NSW. Email for their next intake and session. 

Online and over the phone help

  • QLife (1800 184 527, web chat) provides anonymous and free LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.
  • Rainbow Cultures is a digital directory connecting community members with organisations.
  • Rainbow Sexual, Domestic & Family Violence Service Help Line (1800 385 578)
  • Alcohol and Drug Information Service (1800 250 015)
  • TransHub –
  • Pivot Point –
  • For First Nations folks, 13YARN (139 276)
  • For urgent support, contact Lifeline (131 114), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), or if in an emergency, call 000.
  • Related story: Where to get HIV and STI checks in Western Sydney 

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Mental health findings for LGBTQ+ Australians, 2024

Mark Mariano (he/him) is a Filipino writer, model and podcast producer from Doonside in Western Sydney on Dharug land. Proudly queer, his work has been featured on Buzzfeed, SBS, ABC, and Queerstories. In 2023, he contributed to ACON’s editorial anthology ‘Stories Out West’, and starred in their ‘With Love’ campaign for Sydney WorldPride as ‘sexy sickly bear’. Mark loves thrifting and crying on public transport in hopes of getting scouted for a Netflix series.