FAQs Gender Wellbeing Service

The Gender Wellbeing Service is an Adelaide Primary Health Network (APHN) funded mental health program specifically funded to service individuals who identify as transgender, gender diverse or gender questioning. We are staffed by mental health clinicians and lived experience workers. We are a short term/brief intervention program.

We are unable to provide long term support for complex and chronic mental health needs. We are also unable to provide diagnostic services.

While we reside in the SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice building, we are not directly connected to the GP practice/gender affirming hormone treatment (GAHT) service. For GAHT related referrals please direct these to the SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice (Sexual Health Physician).

Below are a series of frequently asked questions about the Gender Wellbeing Service.

The Gender Wellbeing Service is a mental health service for people who:

  • are transgender, nonbinary, gender diverse, and/or questioning their gender
  • are 12 years and older, if seeking psychological therapies
  • are 16 years and older, if seeking our group peer support options
  • have mild to moderate mental health concerns (unfortunately, we are not a crisis service)
  • reside in the APHN metropolitan catchment area
  • have specific concerns and therapy goals directly related to gender/identity (unfortunately, we cannot provide general mental health support)


How do I/my GP refer to the Gender Wellbeing Service?

To access the Gender Wellbeing Service, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) from your GP
  2. Consider gender/identity-specific therapy goals to outline in your plan/referral
  3. Send your MHCP to the APHN Central Referral Unit (fax: 1300 793 844) or the Gender Wellbeing Service (fax: 08 7099 5399)
  4. We will contact you to arrange an intake appointment to assess your suitability for the service
  5. We will then arrange intervention with one of our Mental Health Clinicians or suggest alternative services

To access peer support, follow the same steps. At your intake appointment, please let us know you would like to access peer support. We will arrange for you to meet with a Lived Experience Worker and let you know about any upcoming groups.


Our Lived Experience Worker has limited availability and is only available to active clients of the Gender Wellbeing Service. Self-referrals will not be accepted.

The regional and rural counterpart to GWS is Gender Connect Country SA.

This is a free service provided by SHINE SA, providing confidential support from peer workers with lived experience of gender diversity via telephone and webchat. Unlike the Gender Wellbeing Service, the Gender Connect Country SA service does not include support from a mental health clinician.

The Gender Wellbeing Service provides two types of support: psychological therapies and peer support.


Psychological Therapy involves sessions with a mental health clinician, where you work toward agreed upon therapeutic goals related to your gender. For example, you might want to develop new coping skills to manage gender dysphoria, better manage anxiety related to your social or medical transition, or work through questions about your gender and identity.


Peer Support involves sessions with a lived experience worker (also known as a peer worker) – a member of the TGD community with mental health qualifications. A lived experience worker can share information and resources, link you to community groups and events, and provide social and emotional support.


Due to high service demand and wait times our one-on-one intervention with our Mental Health Clinicians and Lived Experience Worker are currently capped at 3 sessions. There is however no limit on how many times you can attend for 3 sessions or be referred to our service, you’ll just have a short wait on our waitlist between your appointment blocks.


We also run various clinician and peer-led groups and workshops. These groups are supported by a team of paid staff and volunteers with lived experience of gender diversity. We advertise these groups and workshops through our website and social media as registration becomes available.


Our service does not provide assessment or diagnostic services. The Trans Health SA Practitioner’s List provides a list of transgender affirming health and mental health professionals in South Australia. Alternatively, you can speak to your GP or the APHN Central Referral Unit about other available services.

For most people, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is not needed to access gender affirming hormone therapy or gender affirming surgeries. For more information, see How can I access gender affirming hormone therapy (GAHT), also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?


In such an instance where you do require a confirmed diagnosis of gender dysphoria, you can consult the Trans Health SA Practitioner list for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists or other suitably qualified mental health clinicians who can provide such diagnostic assessments and reports.

Peer support is as it suggests in the name – social and emotional support from a peer who shares part of your lived experience and can support you to work toward your goals, whatever they might be.


Peer support does not take the place of regular therapy. However, talking to a peer worker can increase your connection to the TGD community and increase your access to resources and information. It can also give you the chance to speak to someone who has really “been through it.”

When our service receives your referral from the APHN Central Referral Unit, we’ll call you to schedule your intake assessment as soon as possible. If you are receiving multiple calls from a number you don’t recognise, please check whether it is us! At times we may call you from a private number.


If you miss a call from us, please ring us back at the SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice number (08) 7099 5320. The receptionist will let us know that you have called, and we’ll try to get in touch again at a different time. (Unfortunately, due to our limited staffing we are not always available at the time of your call.)

At your first appointment, you will meet with the Intake Worker or one of our Mental Health Clinicians. This appointment may be on the phone, by video, or face to face, depending on your needs and preferences.

At this appointment, the worker will go through a tailored assessment, to get an idea of your situation, goals and needs, and match you to the right support.

Usually, you will get the chance to discuss some details about yourself and your life, tell us what you’re hoping to get out of the service, and ask us any questions you have.

Based on the intake assessment, we will direct you to the support that best meets your wants and needs. This usually means matching you with a Mental Health Clinician or Lived Experience Worker at our service. Sometimes, we might not be the right service for you. In this case, we will refer you to another service or back to your GP.

While we aim to book you in for an intake appointment ASAP, unfortunately, due to our high service demand, there may be another wait between your intake appointment and your first therapy or peer support appointment (currently approximately a 3-6 month wait).

Community groups are a great interim and ongoing option while you wait to be linked in with an appropriate clinician. The Gender Wellbeing Service runs group programs at different points throughout the year. If you’d like to attend, please keep an eye out on our website and on SHINE SA’s social media for upcoming groups!


The TransMasc SA and Trans Femme SHINE SA Facebook groups may also be useful, with regular meetups organised by peers.

There are several ongoing community and youth groups in South Australia for TGD and LGBTQIA+ people. You can find a list of current community groups on the Trans Health SA website.

Unfortunately, the Gender Wellbeing Service cannot provide support in a crisis. If you or another person are experiencing a mental health emergency:


  • Phone the Mental Health Triage Service: 13 14 65 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Attend the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre (UMHCC)
    215 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, SA 5000 (24hrs, 7 days a week) The UMHCC offers an alternative to presenting at hospital Emergency Departments for a mental health crisis.
  • Attend your nearest hospital Emergency Department
  • Phone 000 (Police, Ambulance or Fire Service)


If you or another person are not in crisis, but still need support, contact:


  • QLife: 1800 184 527 (3pm to midnight) QLife is a counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI). They also offer a webchat option.
  • Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS): 1800 013 755
    (5pm – 11:30pm, 7 days a week)
  • Lifeline: 131 114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Kids Helpline (up to 25 years): 1800 551 800 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)