Seeking help: the basics

Where to go for help to navigate a mental health issue.

If you need help because you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health condition, start here.

 

Speak to your GP 

If you’re concerned about your mental health, start by talking to your GP. As the first port of call, your GP can assess your symptoms, develop a mental health care plan specific to your needs, and refer you to a mental health specialist. 

Seeing a mental health professional

Once you’ve got a mental health care plan, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for more support, or in some cases to help make a diagnosis. This could be a psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor. Under Medicare, everyone with a care plan is entitled to 10 subsidised specialist appointments per year. While Medibank doesn’t  fund these sessions, if you have extras cover that includes psychology we will pay benefits towards subsequent sessions with a psychologist (up to annual limits). 

Counsellors 

Counsellor is a generic term for someone who offers talking therapy and may be a psychologist, nurse, social worker or occupational therapist. It’s a good idea to check that your counsellor has training in an area that is appropriate for your needs - you could start by searching through organisations like The Australian Counselling Association or Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia

Psychologists 

Psychologists can provide a range of therapies (eg. talking therapy, art therapy) to deal with problems like depression, anxiety, stress and grief. Psychologists have undertaken a tertiary qualification in their field and must be registered to work with the Psychology Board of Australia. 

Psychiatrists 

While psychologists and psychiatrists share many similarities, the major difference between the two professions is that psychiatrists specialise in the biological causes of mental illness, while psychologists focus more on the cognitive and behavioural aspects. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialist qualifications in psychiatry, and are therefore able to prescribe medications and admit people to hospital, while psychologists cannot. 

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Hospital services 

Some people who experience mental health problems may need to spend some time in hospital. Both public and private hospitals provide mental health services. You may be referred to a hospital through an emergency department, community mental health team or your GP. 

Online resources 

In addition to in-person services, there are also a number of online resources available, including: 

Beyond Blue for information and advice, as well as an online live chat. You can also call and speak to someone 24 hours a day on 1300 22 4636

PANDA provides a free confidential helpline service offering support for new and expecting mums and dads who are struggling with becoming a parent. You can call 1300 726 306 to speak with a trained counsellor 9am-7.30pm (AEST), Monday to Friday.

Lifeline for crisis support and suicide prevention services with an online live chat. You can also call them 24 hours a day on 13 11 14

 

Mental Health Phone Support

Members with Hospital cover can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 1800 644 325~.


Things you need to know

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

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