Mental Health Care Plan
Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP)
If you are experiencing issues or concerns about your mental wellbeing, you might be eligible for a mental health care plan which can help you get appropriate support and treatment.
What is a mental health care plan?
A mental health care plan is a plan your doctor writes with you about treating a mental health condition. It helps you to access eligible allied health professionals like psychologists, social workers or occupational therapists who can help you to get better and live well.
A mental health care plan can be useful for people with minor mental health conditions or very serious conditions, short-term concerns or long-term illnesses. You don’t already have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition to talk to your doctor about making a mental health care plan.
How can a mental health care plan help me?
A mental health care plan can help you in a number of ways. Creating a mental health care plan gives you and your doctor the opportunity to formally outline how you’ve been feeling, what your needs are and what results you would like. It also gives your doctor an opportunity to refer you on to an appropriate treatment or support service, including specialists who will work with you to improve your mental health.
Having a mental health care plan makes appointments with eligible allied health professionals more affordable. If you have a mental health care plan, you are entitled to a Medicare rebate on up to 10 individual sessions or group appointments with a psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist in a calendar year. After 6 sessions, you will return to your doctor to revisit how your treatment is going, and then if needed, can access the next 4 sessions.
Kristina Challands offers a bulk billing service to clients with a mental health care plan at the Clinic Hub in Samford Valley on Thursday mornings. Clients with a mental health care plan are also received on other days and standard charges apply.
How do I know if a mental health care plan is for me?
Signs that you are experiencing a mental health condition can be very varied. A mental health condition might feel very overwhelming, or it might present as a subtler feeling that something is wrong. If you’ve been experiencing a mental health condition for a long time, the symptoms might just feel like ‘normal life’, even if you suspect that other people might feel calmer, happier or less stressed.
Signs that it’s time to talk to someone about your mental health include:
- you’ve been feeling worried, sad, down, angry, depressed, numb or generally ‘not yourself’ for two weeks or more
- the way you’re feeling is affecting your ability to cope at work, school or in your relationships.
Your mental health might have reached a ‘crisis’ point where symptoms are so bad you can’t ignore them, but you don’t have to wait for your symptoms to become this serious before you see your doctor. If you think something is not right, it’s always worth talking to your doctor about it.
How do I get a mental health care plan?
A mental health care plan needs to be created by your doctor. You can visit your regular GP, or if you don’t have a doctor you normally see, any GP can create a mental health care plan for you. Creating a plan can take a little longer than a normal appointment, so it can help to ask for a longer or double appointment when you make your booking.
Tell your doctor what your concerns about your mental health are and that you are interested in creating a mental health care plan. Your doctor will need to diagnose you with a mental health condition to create the plan, so they will ask you questions about what’s been happening and how you’ve been feeling. They will ask you to fill out a form called a K10 form, which is a simple checklist that measures if and how you’ve been affected by anxiety or depression recently.
They will then talk with you about your goals for how you’d like to feel and write a referral outlining how your health has been that you will need to give to the treatment service you attend.
Your doctor can refer you to a service in the area, or, if you want you can research before you go to the doctor what service you might like to use. beyondblue has a national directory you can use to find a service in your area.
The first step in accessing a mental health care plan is speaking with your GP. If you’d prefer to talk to someone who doesn’t know you personally, you can use a support service like beyondblue’s helpline or online chat service
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