Community Based Services

  • Community health centres provide health services for people of all ages and at low cost, within the community setting.
  • Not all centres provide the same services. The services that are often available include:

    • nursing;
    • health education and promotion;
    • physiotherapy;
    • dental care;
    • medical care (GP/ community doctor);
    • Counselling (including psychologist and social worker)

You have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy at every visit, by every staff member. See Shifra’s Your Rights and Responsibilities section for more.

What services are there for me and my children?

  • Maternity and child health services are available across Australia.
  • These services are usually free for all families with children from birth to school age.
  • They offer health information, childhood immunisation, and advice about child development, parenting and nutrition for young children.

See Shifra’s Newborn-12 Months and Children’s Health sections for more.

What services are available for women?

  • Nurses, midwives and doctors who specialise in women’s health can offer you:

    • a preventive test for cervical cancer known as a pap smear;
    • a breast check;
    • information on bladder issues
    • pregnancy;
    • alcohol and drug problems;
    • help with gambling;
    • support if you are experiencing or have experienced family violence.

See Shifra’s Women’s Health section for more.

I have a disability, what services are there for me?

  • There is a range of support and services available for people with a disability and their families or carers though state and territory health services.
  • You can find out more about accessing services if you or your family member has a disability on the links at the bottom of this page.

I’m from a non-English speaking background, what support can I get?

  • Many hospitals and large health centres have teams who offer health services for local migrant communities, including refugees and asylum seekers.
  • These services include:

    • doctor and nurse checks;
    • scripts for medicine;
    • tests and procedures;
    • counselling;
    • advice; and
    • referrals to specialists
  • Ring your local hospital or community health centre to see if there is a Refugee Health Nurse or Multicultural Health Worker for your language group.

You have a right to have an interpreter available, by phone or in person, during any health visit (in the hospital or at the doctor).


Look for or show this symbol to your doctor or nurse so they can arrange an interpreter for you.

  • The Australian Government supports a translating and interpreting service called TIS National.
  • To use a TIS National interpreter call 13 14 50 and tell the operator which language you speak.

See Shifra’s Translating and Interpreting Services section for more.

What support is there for people living with mental illness?

  • In Australia, It is not a crime to experience mental health issues.
  • You have a right to seek help and to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Seeking help will not affect your visa status.
  • A number of services exist for people who need help for mental health concerns and mental illness.
  • In Australia, people with mental health concerns may be treated in the community or sometimes in hospital, but not in institutions.
  • In most common cases, people needing assistance for mental health difficulties should contact their GP/ family doctor or community health centre.
  • If you need urgent assistance, contact the mental health team at your nearest hospital or contact your doctor.
  • Information and assistance with mental health issues may be found through the agencies listed below.
Service Phone Number Website
Lifeline – 24 Hour Helpline 13 1114
Kids Helpline – 24 Hour Helpline 1800 55 1800
Men’s Helpline Australia – 24 Hour Crisis Line 1300 789 978


See Shifra’s Mental Health section for more.

I have experienced torture or trauma. Can I get counselling?

  • There are specialised services throughout Australia to assist people who have experienced trauma and torture in your homeland.
  • Support for difficult experiences you may have had since arriving in Australia may not be offered by these same services.
  • Call Lifeline if you are unsure. You can use a TIS interpreter to speak to a trained counselling about any problem that is bothering you.

You are not alone. There are people who can help you.

See below to find out how to access these services in your state or territory.

Service Phone Number Website
ACT Companion House – Assisting Survivors of Torture and Trauma 02 6251 4550
NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) 02 9794 1900
QLD Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) 07 3391 6677
SA Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service (STTARS) 08 8346 5433
TAS Phoenix Centre – support Service for Survivors of Torture and Trauma 03 6234 9138
VIC Foundation House – Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (‘Foundation House’) 03 9388 0022
WA Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS) 08 9227 2700

See Shifra’s Mental Health section for more.

Some information adapted from: The Beginning a Life in Australia booklet, produced by the Department of Social Services (DSS)


Child and Family Health:

Women’s Health:


Mental Health: