How your GP can help
Your GP can help by talking with you about what is happening and work with you to determine what support is best for you. A GP can help with:
- Determining best support options, which can include self-help, support groups, on-line support and referral to community services.
- Setting up a Mental Health Treatment Plan which can be one option that allows you to claim a Medicare rebate for up six visits to a clinical psychologist or mental health professional or allied mental health professional.
- If you think you require more treatment following the initial six visits you can go back to your GP who can, depending on your needs, refer you for another four sessions.1
- “Health professionals are free to determine their own fees for the services they provide.” This means that if the cost of the appointment is more than the Medicare rebate you will have to pay the gap between the rebate and what they charge for their services.
- When you book your first visit, please request a 30 minute appointment this will mean you have extra time to talk with your GP about what is happening for you and the next steps to finding some support.
For people who have financial difficulties (e.g. are unemployed or have a healthcare/concession card), a GP can assist by referring people “aged 16 years or over, and experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression or substance use problems” to the Practitioner Online Referral Treatment Service (PORTS). This service provides assessment online or by telephone and depending on a person’s needs, appropriate treatment will be offered.2 For more information on the PORTS go to your GP or to ports.org.au/for-patients.
MH Connext is a new care management program available for people with severe and complex mental illness, whose needs are predominately being managed in primary care. Initially this program has only been made available to select GPs in the metropolitan region during the first phase implementation. It is intended as a short-term support service that assists to establish the right services for vulnerable patients, as opposed to a longer term intervention. For more information go to wapha.org.au/mhconnext.
In country WA regions a GP can assist disadvantaged people requiring psychological treatment by referring them to the local Mental Health Portal service provider. The Mental Health Portal is a single point of contact for GPs and other regional and rural practitioners to connect people experiencing mental health issues to mental health care services matched to their needs. For more information go to your GP or visit wapha.org.au/ipmhc/.
Better Access to Mental Health Care [Internet]. Canberra (Australia). Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. [2012; cited 2017 Nov 27]Better Access to Mental Health Care: Fact Sheet for Patients. Available from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/5DB6692978BC3395CA257BF0001C10D7/$File/factsheetforpatients.pdf
Practitioner Online Referral Treatment Service [Internet]. Macquarie University (Australia). Access Macquirie Ltd. For Patients [n.d.; cited 2017 Nov 27]. Available from: https://ports.org.au/for-patients#tag1