Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Service

The PCMHS service provides support and consultation to both the CMHTs and the GPs to bridge the gap between Secondary and Primary Care and to ensure consistent treatment and care to the individual and sustained management in Primary Care.

What is the PCMHS service?

The Primary Care Mental Health Specialist service provides support for a safe and positive discharge from secondary services for people with long term stable mental health conditions (clusters 7, 11, 12) into primary care. Individuals who have been under the PCMHS team in the past can also self-refer back to the PCMHS team if they are in need of our service again. Direct GP referrals are also accepted for individuals with low mood, anxiety disorders and depression (clusters 1, 2, 3). The PCMHS will offer assessment, follow up and signposting to relevant services for a time limited period.

The Primary Care Mental Health Specialist service spans across Canterbury and Coastal area, South Kent Coast, Thanet, Ashford and Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Swale areas. Both a ‘step down’ service – referrals being made directly from the Community Mental Health Team – and a ‘step up’ service – referrals from GPs for patients who are in need of additional mental health support at a primary care level are provided.

The benefits of the Primary Care Mental Health Specialist service are that it enables people who would otherwise remain in secondary services or who would not be able to sustain discharge in primary care without support to be transitioned safely into primary care. The PCMHS service provides support and consultation to both the CMHTs (Community Mental Health Teams) and the GPs to facilitate this process and can act as a bridge between secondary and primary care to improve communication between services and to ensure consistent treatment, care to the individual and sustained management in primary care. Our team also benefits the community by increasing its mental health service capacity and expertise in primary care.

Click the below icon to take a look at our leaflet.

Our goals

To improve service quality and outcomes for people with mental ill-health, based on recovery principles enabling optimum timely independence so patients will not remain on caseloads for long periods.

To ensure patients get to the right mental health service, sooner.

To increase identification and management of the full range of adult mental health conditions in primary care, including initiatives to improve physical health outcomes for those with a mental health condition.

To support initiatives to reduce the numbers of referrals made directly to secondary care for common mental health conditions.

To provide time limited emotional support to some patients who present with a low to moderate risk but do not require formal psychological or medical treatment at this time, especially those who are socially isolated.

How does it work?

Individuals with long term stable mental health conditions are identified by the CMHT, GP and the PCMHS Team, those who fall into clusters 7, 11 and 12 and have a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Affective disorder, psychosis, recurrent depression and anxiety for potential transfer.

The Primary Care Mental Health Specialists will provide recovery focused support to the individual which is a ‘step down’ from the CMHT. We meet with people in their homes and in the community and focus on relapse management and prevention as well as support them with their functional recovery and accessing vocational opportunities.

GPs can refer directly via letter or referral form for assessment, follow up and treatment for individuals with low mood, anxiety disorders and depression (clusters 1, 2, 3).

If an individual is at risk of destabilising we will initially provide more intensive follow up in Primary Care however if they are in need of management from the CMHT and in keeping with NICE guidelines then the Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Team will need to urgently refer the individual back to Secondary Mental Health Services.

Who is Eligible?

Canterbury and Coastal area, Thanet, Ashford and South Kent Coast CCG areas

An individual is eligible if they are over 18 years of age and registered with Canterbury & Coastal CCG, Thanet CCG, Ashford CCG or South Kent Coast CCG GP Practice.

Referrals can only be accepted from either Secondary care via Community Mental Health Teams and from Primary care by a GP or a Practice Nurse.

‘Step down’ referrals from the CMHT, if they fall under clusters 7, 11 or 12 and are stable in terms of their mental health and able to transition from secondary care to primary care but are in need of additional support to sustain discharge.

‘Step up’ referrals from the GPs this can include referrals for individuals who are in need of mental health support for depression, anxiety and mood disorders but who can be safely managed within a Primary Care Setting.

Dartford Gravesham Swanley and Swale CCG areas

A 16+ service is in development with NELFT (North East London Foundation Trust) and Live Well Kent -all initial referrals will go via NELFT who will liaise directly with the PCMHS team.

The PCMHS team accept referrals from the CMHT, GP, Live Well Kent and KCC Primary Care Mental Health Social Work service for individuals who are 18 years old and in need of mental health assessment and support. Both a ‘step down’ service for individuals who fall into clusters 7,11 and 12 is provided as well as a ‘step up’ service for individuals who are in need of support for symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mood disorders but who do not require Secondary mental health intervention and support.

How do I refer?

For ‘step up’ referrals via the GP and other services a referral letter or the PCMHS referral form is completed and emailed with any additional relevant information to the following:

Referral Form: GP referral

For the CMHT or ‘step down’ referrals a checklist is completed with attached relevant information such as a recent clinic letter, risk assessment, core assessment and emailed to the below address prior to jointly arranging a transfer of care meeting with the PCMHS team, the CMHT and the individual.

Referral Form: Shared Care Transfer Checklist

We can also be contacted at the below address;

Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Team
Invicta Health Community Interest Company
Offices 3 & 4 – First Floor
Innovation House
Ramsgate Road
CT13 9FF
Tel: 0800 242 5199 – option 1

We can be contacted for discussion or consultation regarding potential referrals at: Tel: 0800 242 5199 – option 1

Referrals can be emailed, please Click Here for the email address.


We offer student practice placements for both Nursing and Occupational Therapy students in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University.


Invicta Health CIC in conjunction with Encompass are currently running a number of successful psychoeducation courses across Canterbury, Whitstable, Faversham and Sandwich to support individuals in their recovery.

The groups have helped individuals to be less isolated by meeting others with a similar diagnosis and have helped them to understand their condition and learn about relapse prevention to enable them to stay well and out of hospital.

The mental health groups that Invicta Health CIC are currently running are:

The Bipolar Psychoeducation Course
13 week course

Bipolar Leaflet
Bipolar Referral Form

The Understanding Emotions Course
12 week course (referral by GP, Practice Nurse only)

Understanding Emotions Leaflet
Understanding Emotions Referral Form
Understanding Emotions Referral Criteria

    • New Vacancy! We are looking for a Salaried GP!

      Are you a GP looking for an exciting opportunity? Looking for clinical and managerial experience with a wonderful team? Looking to develop your clinical experience and judgement? We have a salaried GP opportunity for you at our practice, Birchington Medical Centre, located in a beautiful seaside village in South East, Kent.

  • Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Team Invicta Health CIC

      • Monday - Friday:
      • 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Innovation House Ramsgate Road, Sandwich CT13 9FF
    • Tel: 0800 242 5199 (Option 1)
  • Testimonials

    • “My PCMHS’s support has been invaluable. She is highly understanding, respectful, open-minded and non-judgmental. Her listening skills are extremely fine-tuned and beneficial to me as she really ‘hears’ me and gives a voice, which you don’t always feel like you have when you are going through mental distress. She also has a very skilled way of reflecting on what I tell her regarding what’s troubling me and how my condition impacts on my everyday life, which then helps me to gain further insight into my condition. I feel I can tell her anything and I feel free to express all my feelings in my sessions with her. This is extremely valuable as I have a tendency to ‘bottle things up’. She is also very patient and kind and flexible. It’s reassuring to know she would contact my GP if need be. She also has a good working relationship with my GP which is also reassuring. It’s also fantastic that she visits me at home for our sessions. I am a lot more relaxed here and I believe home sessions are of much better quality and assistance to me because of this. It’s great I have easy access to her as I can text her at times of crisis on her work mobile and she replies quickly. Overall I am very lucky to have the PCMHS’s support, she is consistent and informative and I thank her and your service profusely.”

      - South Kent Coast Patient

    • “Thank you for helping me, I have been mentally ill all my life. I don’t know what I should do without the PCMHS help. God bless you all.”

      - South Kent Coast Patient

    • “During the three years my PCMHS has been providing counselling, I have found him to be very supportive and always on time. He is understanding of, and supportive with my anxiety which allows me to relax and be open about how I am feeling in times of distress. My PCMHS’s caring and professional nature is something I have come to rely on and I feel that I would not cope without his continued support.”

      - South Kent Coast Patient

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