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Mental health services in Australia

It’s normal to feel worried about living in a new country, but there are plenty of support services available to you if you’re an international student, visitor, or worker in Australia.

Mental health refers to your mood and state of wellbeing. When your mental health is good, you feel happier and are more able to cope with stress and achieve your goals. But adapting to life in a new country can be hard, and sometimes you might feel sad or overwhelmed.

The good news is there are plenty of services available to help you out. You just need to be brave and talk to people about how you’re feeling.

Medibank support lines

If you have Medibank Overseas Visitors or Working Visa Health Cover, you can call the Medibank nurse-on-call, 24 hours a day on 1800 644 325. They can help you find a mental health provider in your area.

If you’re a student with Medibank Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), you can call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283 at any time of the day or night. They’ll offer you advice and over-the-phone counselling as part of your cover. They also have an interpreter service so you can speak to someone in your own language.

International student support (ISS) team

If you’re a student, your university’s ISS team are there to make your time in Australia as smooth as possible. If you’re having trouble, they’re a good place to go for advice and support. They’ll be able to help you find a doctor, and in some situations can arrange a reduced study load or time off without affecting your visa.

General practitioner (GP)

Most Medibank Overseas Health Covers* will cover all or some of the cost of seeing a doctor (sometimes called a GP). If you’re feeling sad or stressed, a doctor will listen to you and give you advice and treatment if you need it. They may also refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist who is trained to listen and help you work through any problems.

Psychologist or psychiatrist

Psychologists and psychiatrists will discuss how you’re feeling with you, and may give you tools to help get you back on track. You can see a psychologist without a GP referral, but you’ll need one to see a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist might also prescribe medicine.

Online resources

There are some great, free services you can access from your phone or computer. They also provide telephone counselling any time of the day or night.

  • beyondblue offers info and advice about depression and other issues, as well as an online live chat. You can also call and speak to someone 24 hours a day on 1300 224 636.
  • Lifeline is a crisis support and suicide prevention service with an online live chat. You can also call them 24 hours a day on 13 11 14.

How health insurance can help

If you have private health insurance with Extras cover, you may be able to get some money back for appointments with a psychologist. Just check to see if Psychology is included in your cover, and that you’ve served any waiting periods.

If you need to go to hospital for mental health treatment, your overseas health cover may be able to help with some of the hospital bills, provided you’ve served your waiting periods and that you have Psychiatric treatment included. It’s a good idea to check your cover summary or give your health insurer a call so you know exactly what you can claim for.

If you have Medibank Overseas Visitors or Working Visa Health Cover, give us a call on 132 331 (or 134 148 for students) and we’ll let you know which treatments are included in your policy.

* Excludes Working Visa Hospital Insurance.

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