You may have seen in the news that the Prime Minister announced extra funding for mental health services, providing 10 extra mental health sessions subsidised by Medicare in response to the “second wave” of COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 Mental Health Support
From 7 August 2020 until 31 March 2021, an additional 10 individual psychological therapy sessions are available to eligible people under the existing Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative. Supporting people whose mental health has been impacted by COVID-19.

1. Am I eligible for the extra 10 mental health sessions?

To access these additional Medicare sessions, you must have an approved treatment plan (either a Mental Health Treatment Plan, shared care plan, psychiatrist assessment and management plan or approved written record) and have undertaken a review of this plan with your GP, psychiatrist, or paediatrician.

This will allow you to continue to receive mental health care from your eligible practitioner.

According to MBS's Factsheet for Additional 10 Mental Health Sessions, the additional Medicare sessions are for people who have already used their 10 Better Access sessions in the calendar year and who are:

  • in an area subject to public health orders restricting their movement within a state or territory issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021; or
  • required to isolate or quarantine under public health orders for at least 14 days.

So if you fit the criteria above, you may be eligible to get an extra 10 more psychological therapy sessions, on top of the 10 already available per calendar year. Which is particularly helpful considering the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. How can I access the extra 10 mental health sessions?

You'll need to book an appointment with your GP, psychiatrist, or paediatrician to have access to the COVID-19 Mental Health Support. If you don’t have a regular GP it’s easy to find one here.

When you book, you may want to book a long consultation, so you have enough time to discuss your current Mental Health Care Plan and possibly the need for you to have it renewed for another 10 sessions.

Your chosen practitioner might ask you to fill out a questionnaire about how you’ve been feeling to work out the best support for you. You will both then work on the best strategy for you, which could include a referral for you to see mental health professional with 10 sessions subsidised by Medicare.

3. Does Medicare pay for the 10 additional sessions in full?

Health professionals set their own fees, so Medicare may only cover some of the cost. You can ask your practitioner, how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get back from Medicare when you make your appointment.

If they bulk bill, you won’t have to pay anything. If you have private health insurance, you may be able to get some money back. You can check with your insurer.

Learn more about the Mental Health Treatment Plan here

4. How can I book and appointment with a GP or mental health professional?

You can find a health professional through personal connections - you can ask a friend for recommendations or visit the family doctor, for example.

But the easiest way to book an appointment nowadays is online.

Halaxy's directory and online bookings platform offers a personalised search to help you find the right practitioner and book your appointments online.

Halaxy has more than 10,000 practitioners at your fingertips, and you can search the right practitioners based on profession, specialisation, clinic location and more.

Book your mental health appointments via Halaxy

5. About Halaxy

Halaxy is a free to use global health platform for health practitioners and people everywhere. Practitioners can us Halaxy manage their practice, patients can manage their health and connect with their care network.

Halaxy - Run your entire practice and monitor your health on the world's leading global health platform.

Halaxy for patients
Halaxy's Personal Health Record has all the tools patients need to manage their health at home, connect with their care network, and facilitate treatment face to face and remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example.

By creating a free Halaxy account you can:

Book online appointments (face t0 face and remotely during COVID-19 and all year round.
✅  Track your medical appointments;
✅  Accesse, view, and pay your invoices;
✅  Keep your medical history up to date, including emergency contacts, etc;
✅  Complete tools and questionnaires assigned by your care network;
✅  Upload referrals, letters and other documents to your medical records;
✅  Access to clinical record information securely shared by your care network;
✅  Link a health-tracking device and share the details with your practitioner;
✅  Share information with family members with the appropriate access level;
✅  Track your health's progress over time.

Halaxy for health practitioners
With smart technology, Halaxy's Practice Management Software removes practitioners' admin work so they can focus on treating patients - making healthcare better for everyone everywhere.

Halaxy includes all the essential features practitioners need to run their practice for free, including appointments, online bookings, directory, invoices, clinical tools, referrals, financial reports, and much more!

Search for the right practitioner or Join Halaxy for free today


Are you new to the Mental Health Care Plan? Learn the basics below:

1. What's a Mental Health Care Plan?

A Mental Health Care Plan (which has been renamed to Mental Health Treatment Plan or MHTP) is is a support plan subsidised by the Australian Government via Medicare for someone who is going through mental health issues.

According to Headspace, a mental health care plan might include:

  • A referral to an expert, like a psychologist
  • The types of mental health care that can support you
  • Other strategies to improve and maintain your mental health, like our tips for a healthy headspace.

With the MHTP, the Government will pay some or all of the cost of up to ten sessions with a mental health expert in a year. You can get that through the Medicare rebate.

Extra 10 mental health sessions
From 7 August 2020 until 31 March 2021, the Australian government is providing a further 10 subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people who have already used their 10 sessions in a calendar year and who are subject to restrictions due to COVID-19. Please see Medicare's website for more information about patient eligibility.

2. How can I get my first Mental Health Care Plan?

You'll need to book an appointment with your GP, psychiatrist, or paediatrician. If you don’t have a regular GP, you can find one here.

When you book, you may want to book a long consultation, so you have enough time to discuss your mental health and possibly the need for you to have a Mental Health Care Plan in place.

Your chosen practitioner might ask you to fill out a questionnaire about how you’ve been feeling to work out the best support for you. You will both then work on the best strategy for you, which could include a referral for you to see mental health professional with initially 6 sessions Medicare subsidised.

When you review the Mental Health Care plan with your GP after the first 6 sessions have been completed, you may have 4 sessions added to your plan.

You may also be eligible to get an extra 10 more psychological therapy sessions, on top of the 10 already available per calendar year, if you're in an area subject to public health orders restricting their movement within a state or territory issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. Please see Medicare's website for more information about patient eligibility.

But don't worry about the number of sessions now, simply visit your GP and you will both work on the best plan to support your mental health.

3. Does Medicare pay for the mental health sessions in full?

Health professionals set their own fees, so Medicare may only cover some of the cost. You can ask your practitioner, how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get back from Medicare when you make your appointment.

If they bulk bill, you won’t have to pay anything. If you have private health insurance, you may be able to get some money back. You can check with your insurer.

Learn more about the Mental Health Treatment Plan


If you need urgent help, please contact Lifeline: 13 11 14

Sources:
MBS Online
Headspace
Services Australia
Health Direct