PROS and CONS of GP referred Mental Health Plans

Currently in Australia, people seeking Mental Health assistance are directed to visit their GP to get a Mental Health Plan, which enables them to access subsidised visits to a referred psychologist. This is great for people needing a diagnosis from a psychologist, and is a financially supported way to do this.

Unfortunately for some, this means the GP chooses the Psychologist, and some currently have waiting lists of 6 months , or more. This is already a barrier to some people seeking help. ( Evidence shows that more than 50% of the success of a counselling relationship depends on the rapport between the client and therapist).

The good news is, people can choose to go straight to a Counsellor, most of which are priced in the “gap” between Medicare rebate and a Psychologists fees. You can also choose someone who you feel is the best fit for you, and many Counsellor have specialised fields. The other good news is most Counsellor don’t have long waiting lists, so you can access help straight away.

The aim here is not to undermine the role of a Psychologists, their skills, education or experience, but simply to allow people to access the right type of service for them, and remove some of the barriers to getting appropriate, timely and individualised support.

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