The Mental Health Care Plan is government supported funding that allows people access to counselling services. You can see a Psychologist, Psychiatrist or listed allied health practitioner and receive a rebate for your session – sometimes there’s no cost and sometimes you might pay a gap, up to around $60.
First, you need to see your GP who will undertake an assessment, usually of your level of Depression, Anxiety and Stress (DAS). This outputs a score to let them know if you need help. They then write a referral and you’ll get 6 initial sessions with the Psychologist or appropriate person.
After those 6 sessions, the practitioner will assess you again and may write to your GP to approve more sessions. You’ll go and see the GP for another referral.
Like many people, you might decide you want to see me for Counselling. And this is where I regret to advise you that my services are not covered under the Mental Health Care Plan.
Yes, I am a Counsellor and I offer counselling services. I have a Masters degree in Counselling from La Trobe University. I am registered with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
But the government doesn’t recognise Counsellors under their scheme.
I’m not writing this with any intention other than to inform you of the current state of play. Personally, I would prefer that people seek help for their mental health rather than not, and I’m glad the government support that, to an extent. Admittedly it’s disappointing on so many levels every time I have to advise someone that I can’t help them with their Plan financially.
Do I wish people could choose their own Counsellor? Yes. But that’s simply the way it is. I can still work with you, but there’s no rebate.
So why would you see me instead?
Based on the feedback I receive from my clients, they see me because I help them. Often after going through the system and working with other health practitioners, they haven’t seen improvement. And then they do see improvement. This is sometimes after 20, 30, 40 years of struggle.
My approach is individual and the theoretic model I use is fairly unique, but incredibly effective. While I’m accountable to PACFA, I don’t have to get clinical with you and assess you numerically. While I use the 6 session evidence based approach, if you want more, we’ll just book another appointment. The relationship stays between you and me.
I aim to keep my costs affordable and offer 1 hour sessions for $99 (individual).
Usually people hear about me through word of mouth, from someone who saw results from our sessions. This is the best type of referral I can ask for, and if often gives people comfort.
Counselling is not my hobby.
It’s not my side business, my second job or my weekend filler. I’m here Monday to Saturday. I’m constantly finding ways to make the service the best it can be for you, through more comfortable rooms, after hours appointments and continuing my own learning and accountability.
Counselling is my profession and I take it very seriously. I respect every moment with my clients. It takes a huge amount of strength to step up and take a look inside yourself.
I hope this information helps you some way, whether it’s understanding your options better, knowing the process or appreciating that it’s ok to get help.
If you’d like to talk, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0488198080.
Melanie Fisher, M.Couns
NB: We are now a Registered Provider with Medibank Private. For clients with the appropriate private health insurance policy through Medibank Private, a rebate may be available. Please speak to your provider for confirmation.