Heart Leaf

What is the Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

The Cardiac Wellbeing Program™ is a state-wide service 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 most comprehensive psychocardiology program in Australia.  

Why do we need a Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

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 up to 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. Only one in two of these patients go on to receive treatment for their depression. Encouragingly, effective treatments are available for anxiety and depression. These treatments also assist 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. This support can improve their physical and mental wellbeing and reduce their risk of future cardiac events and hospitalisations.

What services does the Cardiac Wellbeing Program offer?

All the programs offered in the Cardiac Wellbeing Program have been shown to be efficacious for heart patients. These programs have been developed by our team of health psychologists, mental health researchers and behavioural scientists who are experienced in the development and delivery of support programs for cardiac patients and their families.  The programs draw on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) underpinned by a framework of self-regulation theory. They are evidence-based and have been extensively evaluated. 

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 five module program which may be used by cardiac patients or by health professionals supporting cardiac patients.

Teleheart is available to patients in the comfort of their own home. It is a 4-6 session telephone-delivered program for people who have had a cardiac event. The program is delivered by trained registered psychologists. They provide an evidence-based personalised behavioural and emotional maintenance program where patients can be supported by SMS messages if they choose. The program includes sessions on dietary change, physical activity, smoking cessation and emotional recovery. Patients are free to choose the sessions that appeal to them.  



Individual counselling is offered for heart patients and their families. These sessions focus on helping people make healthy lifestyle changes and manage symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. This counselling is available either face to face or via Skype. Generally, counselling is accessed via a mental health care plan from a GP.





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, anger and isolation. The program is facilitated by one of our trained registered psychologists. 



The HeartChild Family Coping program is designed to assist parents of children with congenital heart disease. It is an 8-module program delivered either in five weekly session or a single weekend by trained psychologists and Family Support Workers from "HeartKids Australia"The program aims to enhance families’ capacity to deal with the challenges and stresses they encounter as parents of special needs children. 




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