Need Help with your Mental Health?
Nearly half of all Australians will experience a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, at some point in their lives. 75% of mental disorders will emerge by 24 years of age. This means, statistically speaking, having a mental health problem is very common.
Signs that you are experiencing a mental health problem can be varied. If you have been feeling sad, worried, down, angry, depressed, numb or generally just ‘not yourself’ for two weeks or more, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.
Seeking help from a health professional such as a Psychologist as soon as possible is very important, because without help, your symptoms may worsen, and may begin to negatively impact your ability to cope at work, school, or in your relationships.
Fortunately, there many effective psychological interventions available to treat mental health problems.
How to Access Psychological Services in Australia
Step 1. Find a GP
The first step in accessing treatment for a mental health problem, like any other illness, is a consultation with a General Practitioner (GP).
It is important to start with seeing a GP, because a GP can also check for any physical health problems or medications that may be contributing to mental health problems you are experiencing.
In addition, a GP can help you access government rebates to help you pay part of the cost of seeing a Psychologist, through a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP).
If you don’t have a regular GP, or are looking for a new one, or one who bulk bills so you don’t have to pay for your medical services, you can find one on the Government’s Health Direct website. Alternatively, try googling Doctors in your local area and choose a Doctor who lists “mental health” as one of their areas of interest. However, please remember that all GPs are trained to assist you with your mental health.
- Make an appointment to obtain a Mental Health Treatment Plan
To be eligible to receive subsidised psychological services under Medicare, you need to obtain a MHTP from a Doctor (GP).
A MHTP is a plan a GP writes with you about receiving treatment for a mental health condition.
If you have a referral from a GP for a MHTP you will be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate of $87.45 for a general Psychologist, or $128.40 for a Clinical Psychologist, per session, for up to 10 sessions per calendar year.
Starting on 7 August 2020, if you are in an area of Australia subjected to further restrictions due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions in 2020.
If you haven’t received a diagnosis for a mental illness before, your GP will need to assess your eligibility for a MHTP.
0tep 2: Find a Psychologist
When developing your MHTP, your doctor can refer you to a Psychologist. However, you don’t have to use that Psychologist, and, if you want, you can also research Psychologists you might want to see before you go to the doctor.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has a Find a Psychologist™ service that helps you to find a Psychologist to suit your individual needs. The Find a Psychologist™ directory lists thousands of APS registered Psychologists around Australia.
In addition, here at Psycho-Social Student Hub, we have registered Psychologists who provide psychological services to university students. Our Psychologists are:
- Dr Susan Ellis, Clinical Psychologist
- Ms Muriel Bergel, Psychologist
- Mr Michael Riley, Counsellor
- Ms Adele Bergin, Psychologist
Please feel free to directly email one of our practitioners to discuss making an appointment.
Once you have your mental health treatment plan and your referral, you can set up an appointment with the Psychologist you want to see.
Please note, you can also directly contact a Psychologist to make an appointment (without at MHTP). However, if you choose this path, you will not be eligible for a Government rebate for your sessions and will have to pay the full cost yourself.
If you have any questions about how to access psychological services, please do not hesitate to contact the very friendly Adele Bergin here at Psycho-Social Student Hub.