The vast majority of this blog first appeared on the Finding Franky website here and is re-posted with permission below with some minor edits.
Although Mr. Perfect is a completely non-clinical charity with a strong focus on the social aspects of good mental health, we appreciate that professional help where relevant is vital.
One of the tools in your toolbox should always be the option of clinical support, in the form of a GP, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
When referred to a Psychologist this all starts with a Mental Health Treatment Plan - so we have re-posted a blog from Finding Franky that perfectly explains the process:
What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan?
- A Mental Health Treatment Plan lets you claim a Medicare rebate on your sessions with your chosen mental health professional, up to 10 per calendar year
- A Mental Health Treatment Plan can save you over a $1000 a year
- You can get a Mental Health Treatment Plan from your doctor, or any GP
How to get a Mental Health Treatment Plan?
Firstly, go to any GP and ask for one. If you need to make an appointment, mention that you need an MHTP when you book as they usually book you in for a longer appointment than usual. There is no requirement to see your regular or family GP (but it may help). It does not necessarily have to be a GP that you have seen before.
What happens at the GP appointment?
Some GPs will collect a full history from you generally and about your mental health, ask you to fill out a questionnaire which is a 1-5 scale of approximately 10 questions and attempt to make a diagnosis. They may discuss your treatment goals and talk you through the treatments they have planned for you.
You will have to talk about your mental health with the GP, so be prepared but do not worry about this, it is just procedure. Admittedly Pete, one of our Mr. Perfect Board Members and Finding Franky Founder, felt such stress he had to "pass" their questionnaire otherwise they would not give him a MHTP.
Other GPs usually bulk billing GPs, will promptly fill out a plan template with the minimum required information. This may not be a great idea if you are relying on the GP for primary care of your mental health. It is not so bad if you are taking more responsibility for your own care, because you have your plan and can access Medicare rebates. You can do all the goals and treatment planning with the mental health professional such as Psychologist. But ultimately a solid, regular GP may ensure your treatment is more successful.
If you already have a Psychologist or similar in mind, you can ask for the referral to be written to that specific professional.
How many sessions do I get?
Your MHTP gives you six sessions. When you have used them all you can go back to the GP and get another four sessions signed off. Then that is it for the calendar year. You are eligible for another ten after a year but please make sure you check your specific circumstance.
What if I do not like the plan or the Mental Health Professional chosen for me?
If you have used a Counsellor Directory or have been referred a professional by word of mouth, you can choose your mental health professional before you visit the GP and tell them who you wish to see. If you do not name your preference, your GP will choose one for you but you are not obliged to choose their proposal.
Your MHTP allows you Medicare rebates for six sessions with any mental health professional. If you do not feel you are bonding or making progress with your chosen practitioner, you can choose a different one. You still get your rebate, and you do not need a new MHTP or updated referral letter.
Some people can find the "one" on their first attempt, some may see multiple professionals before they find what they need, so be prepared with a realistic expectation and be patient.
What makes me eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP)?
Most MHTPs are for depression or anxiety. Here are the full list of conditions that are eligible:
- Anxiety disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Conduct disorders
- Bereavement disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep problems
- Attention deficit disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Co-occurring anxiety and depression
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