Heart Leaf

What is the Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® is a state-wide fee-for-service clinic and forms a key pillar of the Australian Centre for Heart Health (ACHH). The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to enhancing the wellbeing of people who have had a cardiac event. The Program provides psychological, social and behavioural support to cardiac patients and their families. The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® is the only psychocardiology clinic of its kind in Australia.  

Why do we need a Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

In the year after an acute cardiac event, almost all patients experience the cardiac blues, one in three experience severe anxiety, and one in five experience severe depression. Rates of anxiety and depression among people with heart disease are four times those seen in the general population. Unfortunately, few cardiac patients receive integrated care for their physical and mental health concerns. Indeed, many cardiac patients do not receive any support for the emotional and mental aspects of their condition. It is estimated that fewer than one in four cardiac patients with major depression are diagnosed as depressed, and only one in two patients diagnosed as depressed go on to receive treatment for their depression. Encouragingly, effective treatments are available for depression and anxiety, and to assist cardiac patients in making lifestyle changes to help their recovery after an acute cardiac event. 

The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® provides a one-stop-shop for patients and their families to receive integrated psychosocial and behavioural support to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and reduce their risk of future events and hospitalisations.

What services does the Cardiac Wellbeing Program offer?

All the programs offered in the Cardiac Wellbeing Program® are evidence-based and have been extensively evaluated. The programs draw on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) underpinned by a framework of self-regulation theory, all of which have been shown to be highly efficacious for cardiac patients and particularly effective in supporting behaviour change. These programs have been developed by our team of registered health psychologists and behaviour change experts, who are highly experienced in the development and delivery of support programs for cardiac patients and their families.

Back on Track is a program that will help patients get back on track after a heart attack or surgery. The program is designed to help cardiac patients make lifestyle changes that will prevent another heart event and to support them in their emotional recovery. It is a three-part program which may be used by cardiac patients or by health professionals supporting cardiac patients.

Teleheart is an 4-6 session telephone-delivered program for people who have had a cardiac event. It supports patients to make and sustain lifestyle changes, and is available to patients in the comfort of their own home. It is delivered by trained registered psychologists. This program provides an evidence-based personalised behaviour change and maintenance program where patients are supported by self-designed SMS messages. The program places a strong emphasis on self-regulation. The program includes sessions on dietary change, physical activity, smoking cessation and emotional recovery: patients are free to chose the sessions that appeal to them.  



Individual counselling is offered for patients after heart attack or heart surgery, and their partners; Heart Child parents; and other family members of patients.  These sessions focus on helping patients or family members make healthy lifestyle changes and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.





The Beating Heart Problems program is an 8-week group program for people who have had a cardiac event. The program addresses the key health behaviours – healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation and medication adherence – and provides support in managing mood difficulties such as anxiety, depression and anger. The program is facilitated by one of our trained registered psychologists. 



The HeartChild Family Coping program is an 8-module program delivered over five weeks, designed to assist parents of children with congenital heart disease. The program is delivered either individually or in groups. The program aims to enhance families’ capacity to deal with the challenges and stresses they encounter as parents of special needs children. The program is facilitated by trained psychologists and HeartKids Family Support Workers.




Click here to view the Clinical Governance document for the Cardiac Wellbeing Program.