A step-by-step guide to getting a Mental Health Treatment Plan

How to get a Mental Health Treatment Plan

A mental health treatment plan, formerly known as a mental health care plan, is a plan for people going through mental health issues. If you need mental health support, your doctor or GP can prepare a plan for you. The plan identifies what type of mental health care you need. It does this by detailing what would be best for you by outlining the treatment that would best suit your circumstances. We outline how to start your mental health journey.'

Step 0: Recognise that you need help.

Before you start looking into getting a mental health treatment plan, you must first recognise that you need support. This stage is the most important of all because without recognising that your mental health is deteriorating or has already deteriorated, you cannot start your mental health recovery. Remember, it is ok to not be ok, there will always be people out there who want to see you win in life.

Step 1: Make an appointment with your doctor.

First, you should book an appointment with your doctor. If you don’t have a regular doctor, finding one close to you is easy. When you book, make sure to tell them that you want to talk about a mental health treatment plan. By telling them in advance, the doctor will set aside the right amount of time to speak with you.

Step 2: Prepare yourself, write a list.

Before your appointment, write down a list of things or areas you would like support. It is natural to feel nervous, especially if you have not openly spoken about your mental health before. By writing down your feelings or problems that you are having, you will be able to prompt yourself in case you forget to bring up something you wanted to talk about. Doctors have helped many people with their mental health journeys and will have seen similar situations to yours before.

Step 2.5: In the waiting room.

Don’t forget to breathe. Again, it is ok to be nervous! Remember, you’ve made it this far and are setting yourself up to start your mental health journey.

Step 3: Speak with your doctor.

When you enter your doctor’s office (whether virtually via telehealth or in-person), talk to them about what has been going on and what prompted you to see them. Doctors are trained to listen to people so do not worry about saying the “right” or “wrong” thing, they are there to help you.

The doctor may also ask you to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire will help the doctor gain a better understanding of your feelings and how best to support you.

The doctor may ask you to book another appointment before providing you with an MHTP. This is perfectly normal. Remember, they want what is best for you.

Step 4: Understanding what your Mental Health Treatment Plan covers.

Once your doctor has provided you or the psychologist they are directly referring you to with your Mental Health Treatment Plan, you will be entitled to 20 individual appointments with a psychologist (this only applies up until 20 June 2022). The mental health treatment plan allows you to access the Medicare rebate for sessions with certain psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers. 

The Medicare rebate covers $128.40 for a 50+ minute session with a clinical psychologist and $87.45 for a general psychologist. Some psychologists charge more than the Medicare rebate, in which case you will need to pay the difference.

It is important to remember that you will not be entitled to all your 20 individual appointments at once. Your plan will cover you for six sessions. After the six sessions, you will have to go back to your doctor for a review to discuss whether you require more sessions.

Step 5: Book an appointment with a psychologist.

It is important to make sure that you find the right psychologist for you. The right psychologist is someone with whom you can connect. Your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or you may find one yourself

Once you have found a psychologist, make an appointment with them. They will ask you to provide your Mental Health Treatment Plan. 

If you do not connect with your psychologist, do not worry, your mental health treatment plan is not “locked” with them. You can use your remaining sessions to find another psychologist who is right for you, however, you will need to ask your doctor for a new referral. Although it is important to remember that you should not “shop” around for a psychologist. 

Step 6: Claim your Medicare rebate.

Most psychologists will allow you to claim your Medicare rebate on the spot after you’ve finished your session. However, there may be instances where you need to claim the rebate yourself. Do not panic, you can claim your Medicare rebate online. This can be done either through using your Medicare online account on myGov.

Step 7: Repeat step 5.

Once you have found the psychologist who is right for you, make sure to follow their guidance and book regular sessions with them. On Talked, it is easy to find the availability of our psychologists, one click and you’re booked in.

Conclusion

You may find getting an MHTP a daunting process however, going through the process represents a positive first step in your mental health journey.

Mental health support can also be provided through trained counsellors and therapists. Many of the therapists and counsellors on Talked provide a free 15-minute consultation. Start your mental health journey today.

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