Mental Health Intellectual Disability hub

Contact details

Intake Officer

MHID Hub Manager

The Department of Psychological Medicine

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Cnr Hawkesbury Road & Hainsworth Street, Locked Bag 4001 Westmead NSW 2145 

The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Mental Health and Intellectual Disability (MHID) Hub is a state-wide tertiary service to improve the mental health of children and adolescents with intellectual disability and/or autism under 18 years of age.

The Hub is a short term consultation service funded by the NSW Ministry of Health in response to mental health reform for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Hub has two main aims concerning children with intellectual disability and/or autism:

  • To improve state-wide access to specialist mental health services for complex and atypical cases; and
  • To enhance the capacity of local services to provide mental health care within mainstream and subspecialty services.

Services provided

The nature and scope of the Hub is as follows:

  • The Hub is a short-term consultation service, working with the complex patients and their care networks to support and provide advice to the patient’s local treating clinicians by sharing our expertise in assessment, diagnosis and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues in children and adolescents with intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorders.
  • The Hub becomes involved when a medical professional or mental health team have made reasonable assessment or treatment attempts that have not been successful and when specialist expertise will add a significant contribution.
  • The responsibility for treatment, case management and ongoing care will always remain with the patient’s referring clinician.The Hub will not assume primary responsibility for the patient’s ongoing care needs.

Levels of service

The SCHN MHID Hub can offer the following levels of service depending on the level of clinical complexity:

  • Joint consultation with the referrer, patient and family members or carers to provide assessment, diagnosis and short-term treatment intervention of between one to three consultations.This can be provided via face to face at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead or via telehealth.
  • Clinical consultation with the patient and family members or carers to provide assessment, diagnosis and short-term treatment advice to the referrer. This is limited to one to three consultations and can be provided face-to-face at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead or via telehealth.
  • Case-based discussions to a referrer via telehealth. This may be a discussion between a Hub psychiatrist and the referring doctor or a Hub allied health clinician and the treating allied health clinician.

Access and eligibility

Eligible patients are children and young people under 18 years of age who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosed intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder with co-occurring mental health issues and complex needs, and
  • Have an existing primary treating clinician or team providing ongoing care, and
  • Have been referred to local community mental health services and more specialised support is required from the Hub team, and
  • Are already engaged with local disability services such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded positive behaviour support or other therapies.
  • Access is provided on the basis that the patient’s primary clinician retains case management and that all requests have been discussed with and accepted by the family. As the hub is an out-patient service only, patients with acute mental illness and those treated as in-patients need to be managed and treated by local services.

Referral process

Referrals may be accepted across NSW from:

  • Paediatricians who require assistance after having made an initial referral to local CAMHS services and after providing support to the family to access disability services.
  • Child psychiatrists requiring a second opinion. If both a paediatrician and a psychiatrist are involved in the care of a patient, the preference is for the psychiatrist to initiate the referral.
  • CAMHS clinicians seeking advice.

Triage and intake

Referral requests are made by a comprehensive referral letter about the child, family, nature of psychological problem/s, the reason for referral and other relevant medical information and reports.

  1. The referral letter is reviewed by the Intake Officer
  2. The referral is considered by the Hub team on a weekly basis
  3. Referrers will be notified of the outcome.
  • If accepted: a staff member will be in touch to arrange the consultation process.
  • If not accepted: referrers will be notified in writing, including feedback about the reasons for non-acceptance and will provide suggestions about alternative services.

Download the Referral form

Our ability to respond to referrals is affected by the capacity of the part-time team. As a public health service, we take discretion as to which team member(s) is most appropriate to be involved in a service being provided and the most efficient way to support a request.

Download Information for Referrers as a pdf

Clinician education sessions

Are we nearly there? Caring for a child with an intellectual and developmental disability: a road map from a developmental psychiatrist.

David Dossetor Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

Principles of positive parenting for parents of children with developmental disabilities

Lisa Studman, Triple P International

Making sense of sensory processing problems: assessment and treatment strategies

Nicolette Soler, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

Post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety in developmental disorders

Veena Raghupathy, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

Teaching emotion skills to promote the mental health of autistic children with the Westmead Feelings Program

Michelle Wong, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

Clinician resources

Kids Webinar series

NSW CAMHS Clinicians, Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, LHD staff and our SCHN colleagues are invited to view the past program recordings. 


The Hub team

The Hub team is staffed part-time and includes the following multidisciplinary team members:

  • Child Psychiatrist (2 days per week)
  • Clinical Psychologist (2 days per week)
  • Occupational Therapist (1 day per week)
  • Social Worker (2 days per week)
  • Service Coordinator/ Manager (2 days per week)

The Hub is hosted by the Developmental Psychiatry Team within the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and draws on over 15 years of mental health and intellectual disability clinical experience and leadership.


The SCHN MHID Hub is a newly funded service under the NSW Ministry of Health.

Other specialist health services have also been funded to improve health outcomes for people with intellectual disability and include:

  • The Statewide Intellectual Disability Mental Health Outreach Service (SIDMHOS) for adults.
  • The Intellectual Disability and Mental Health National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Residual Functions Program.
  • Specialist Intellectual Disability Health Teams (located in Sydney, Hunter New England, South Western Sydney, Northern Sydney, Western NSW, and South Eastern Sydney Local Health Districts). Each team will provide an outreach service to another local health district/s in collaboration with the Intellectual Disability Health Clinicians.