Accessing a Psychologist in Australia

Mental Health Care Plan – a Mental health care plan is a referral written by a GP which entitles you to access between 10-20 sessions with a Psychologist. It is important to note that even with this referral you are not entitled to bulk billing. Many Psychologists may charge a fee on top of the Medicare rebate. Expect to be $50-100 out of pocket if you access services through this type of referral.

Bulk Billing Psychology – unfortunately due to cost of living rises it is often not possible for psychologists to run a pure bulk billing practice, however if you do have a Mental Health Care Plan (above) you can always request lower or bulk billed fees from your Psychologist. Many practices often hold a few bulk billing sessions per clinician.

Privately – Any person in Australia can access psychological care privately. This means that you do not receive a referral from a Doctor, but contact the Psychologist directly. You will have to pay out of pocket for your sessions, however if you are covered by private health insurance they may cover some of the cost of your sessions.

NDIS Funding – some Psychologists in the private sector will be accredited through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Sessions will often be covered in full under you personal plan.

Employee Assistance Programs – many companies in Australia (both small and large) offer their employees access to an assistance program which is often staffed by Psychologists. These programs tend to be more short term and immediate solution focussed, but often a great way of commencing therapy.

Worker’s Compensation (Workcover etc) – if you are injured at work (physically or psychologically) and struggling to return to work due to your mental health or coping you can request to see a Psychologist. This is often organised/authorised through your GP and case manager.

Chronic Disease Management Plan (prev EPC Plan) – this plan, prepared by your GP allows people with Chronic Diseases to access care from a range of professionals including Psychologists. The plan is limited in the amount of sessions (5 across all professionals) however can be a good way to start to work on the psychological side of Chronic Illness (pain, diabetes, injury etc)

Headspace – for those 12-25 Headspace is a Federally funded health service for young people. This service requires and assessment through Headspace and a referral from your GP and is bulk billed through Medicare.

Public Health Services – State health services may offer some emergency assessments and appointments with Psychologists, however these services are often in very high demand.