The 2007 Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australia demonstrated that almost half the population (45.5%) experienced a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime.
The Medicare Better Access initiative aims to improve outcomes for people with a clinically diagnosed mental disorder through evidence based treatment, which can be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, social workers and occupational therapists.
This initiative has enabled many Australians to access treatment to assist with managing common conditions such as depression and anxiety, and is also available to children and young people who are deemed to be at risk of developing a mental health disorder.
Patients are able to receive a Medicare rebate to cover part of the costs to see a provider, though there is usually still a “gap” payment required.
The first step to access these rebates is to attend your GP and discuss your concerns and symptoms, whether they are new or longstanding, and the doctor can ascertain whether you are eligible for a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
This care plan lists important details including symptoms, past treatment, patient needs, agreed goals for treatment and services to access this treatment.
The doctor will then offer suggestions as to a suitable provider, or refer to a specific provider if you already have one in mind.
Your GP can also advise on local low-cost services if you are a low-income earner. Reviews of the Care Plan can occur every three months and the service provider (eg psychologist) will write to the referring doctor advising on progress.
So if you or your loved ones are struggling with mental health, a trip to the GP will be the first step in order to access evidence based therapy and treatment with a Medicare rebate.
All our GPs at GPs on Bayview are trained to manage a wide range of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, perinatal mental health, developmental disorders, veterans health and much more.
This article was written by Dr Lucy Rosman published in the Western Suburbs Weekly