The first step to take when feeling overwhelmed or experiencing those niggling feelings of something isn’t quite right is to visit your GP. A general chat about your overall physical and mental health may indicate further investigation is warranted. This may include a series of tests to rule out physical issues and/or completing a mental health assessment. If your GP feels it would be helpful, you will be given a mental health plan and a referral to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you have a mental health disorder, you and your doctor can create a plan to treat it
Mental health professional support
Your doctor can refer you to mental health professionals including:
- social workers
- occupational therapists.
You can read about the different types of mental health professionals on the healthdirect website.
You can also use their find a health service tool to find one near you.
Help with costs
A mental health treatment plan lets you claim up to 20 sessions with a mental health professional each calendar year.
To start with, your doctor or psychiatrist will refer you for up to 6 sessions at a time. If you need more, they can refer you for further sessions. Health professionals set their own fees, so we may only cover some of the cost. Ask how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get back from us when you make your appointment. If they bulk bill, you won’t have to pay anything. If you have private health insurance, you may be able to get some money back. You can check with your insurer.
Rural and remote support
If you live in a remote area, it might be hard to see a mental health professional. You may be able to have a telehealth video consultation instead. You can claim for video consultation sessions with a mental health professional.
Ask your GP or mental health professional if they offer this service. You can also search the find a health service tool on the healthdirect website for mental health telehealth services.
Read more about telehealth services for people in rural and remote areas on the Department of Health website.
Find out more about Medicare services for rural and remote Australians.
Seeing a social worker
If you need someone to support you, our service centre staff can connect you with a social worker. If you go through our service centres, there won’t be any cost to you.
Social workers can help you with:
- short term counselling
- referrals to support services.
You can talk to a social worker about:
- family and domestic violence
- thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- being a young person without support
- a personal or family crisis
- mental health concerns
- a natural disaster and how it’s affected you.
To contact a social worker, you can either:
- call the Centrelink employment services line and ask to speak to a social worker
- visit a service centre and ask to speak to a social worker.
Find out more about who social workers help and the ways they can support you.
Finding help online and by phone
You can use our payment and service finder to find mental health services in your state or territory. It includes support services for:
- family and domestic violence
- relationship troubles
- veterans and their families.
Online therapy is an online treatment for mental health issues. It includes online programs that can be helpful for people with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. You should talk to your doctor first to see if it’s right for your situation.
You can read more about online therapy on the healthdirect website.