Where do you begin when seeking mental health support for yourself or a loved one experiencing ongoing mental health symptoms?
In Victoria, there are a range of mental health supports available for those who require assistance. In this blog, we will cover the Mental Health Treatment Plan MHTP and outline the process of setting one up for yourself or someone you are supporting.
What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan MHTP in Melbourne? *Formerly known as Mental Health Care Plans or MHCP
In Victoria, a Mental Health Treatment Plan is a detailed document prepared by your doctor in consultation with you, this document acts as part of the referral (and eligibility for the Medicare rebate) to see a mental health specialist.
How do I get started? Seeing your GP.
The first step is to see your General Practitioner (GP). Completing the process of creating Mental Health Treatment Plans (MHTP) often requires a long appointment. Requesting a double appointment or long appointment may help with this process .
Initially your GP will conduct a thorough evaluation, including a brief interview. This interview often includes asking you a series of questions regarding your current mental health issue.
Your GP may ask you to complete a questionnaire such as the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9). Alternatively they may ask you to complete the the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS) to assess your mental health and make an initial diagnosis.
During the interview, your doctor may ask about your symptoms and any family history of mental illness. They may ask about any stressors or factors in your life that may be impacting your mental health.
Be open and honest with your GP so they can fully understand your needs in these sessions. It’s okay to have a friend or family member with you for support, but it’s good to let your doctor know they are coming.
How long does it take at the GP and how much does it cost?
Preparing a Mental Health Treatment Plan with your doctor could take only one visit or more. You will need to book a longer appointment time to be fully assessed. A Psychiatrist can also prepare you a plan when you are leaving the hospital.
If you have a Medicare card, Medicare will cover some or all of the cost of this treatment planning by a doctor.
Will my Psychologist and my GP communicate?
Mental Health Treatment Plans allows GP’s and Psychologists to work together to support and improve your mental health. At the time of referral the Psychologist will write to your GP confirming they have received the MHCP and the referral.
At appointment number six the psychologist will write to your GP to discuss how the treatment/ intervention is progressing. These letters may include your symptoms at the time of referral, your current symptoms, the intervention that was used and the results of any screeners (DASS, PHQ-9, etc) that you may have undertaken.
This allows the GP and the Psychologist to work together as a care team for you. At session 6, your Psychologist may ask you to return to the GP for a further referral of 4 sessions.
At the end of the 10 Mental Health Treatment Plan appointments, the Psychologist will write to your GP again to note your current symptoms, the intervention completed and the results of any screeners.
Your Psychologist may write to your GP periodically throughout your treatment to keep them up to date with your progress
Do I have to use up all the six or ten appointments in a MHTP?
You don’t need to use all of the sessions however we would encourage you to start the process.
Early intervention and support can be fundamental in working to reduce the period a person experiences poor mental health (we want you to feel like yourself again as soon as possible).
Early intervention may help you to develop skills to better manage your distress and help you to identify triggers early and use strategies to help reduce the chance of relapse.
Do I have to have an MPTP to see a Psychologist?
No, to access a Psychologist you do not need a Mental Health Treatment Plan in Melbourne.
However, you will not be eligible for the Medicare rebate without one (subject to Medicare eligibility).
Do I get a rebate if I see a Provisional Psychologist?
No, Provisional Psychologists are ineligible to deliver Medicare rebates.
However, at Boutique Psychology, we have a low-fee service for working with Provisional Psychologists. The advantage of working with a Provisional Psychologist is they still follow the Medicare process (ie.the keeping doctor informed) but have a lower out-of-pocket fee.
The added advantage of the Provisional Psychologists is that their caseload is supervised, this means if you see them, you get the enthusiasm of a professional who is early in their career and the knowledge of their Board Approved supervisor (5+ years of knowledge ).
How can I receive a Medicare rebate for Psychology services?
When you are given a Mental Health Treatment Plan by a General Practitioner or Psychiatrist you can choose to be referred to Boutique Psychology. You are then eligible to receive a Medicare rebate (you can use your MHTP at any psychology service).
To receive the rebate you can either ask your GP to send Boutique Psychology an electronic or faxed copy of your Mental Health Plan. You can also bring a paper copy to your first session to confirm your eligibility.
With a Mental Health Treatment Plan, you will be entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 10 individual psychological appointments per calendar year.
Please note after your first 6 appointments, you need to see your doctor again for a mental health plan review. They can then decide if you need a referral for further sessions.
Making an appointment with Boutique Psychology
When you contact Boutique Psychology, our friendly administration staff will be your first point of contact. They will ask the reason for engaging with services and a bit about yourself this will help them match you with the right psychologist.
They will also ask your availability (days of the week and times that suit you). Next administration will book your appointment.
You will receive a welcome email, which will include intake forms. You will then receive an email confirming your appointment.
Text and email reminders will be sent out 5 days and 2 days prior to the appointment to remind you about your appointment.
Why would I seek help with a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP)?
Remember, seeking help is a positive step. If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out. Your GP or a mental health professional is there for support.
With the right care and support, it’s possible to improve your mental health and well-being.