Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Mental health treatment plan

6-minute read

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000). You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Key facts

  • A mental health treatment plan is available to people who are diagnosed with a mental health condition.
  • It helps to cover the costs of up to 10 individual sessions of mental health treatment each year.
  • See your doctor to find out if you might benefit from a mental health treatment plan.

What is a mental health treatment plan?

A mental health treatment plan is for people with a mental health condition.

The plan identifies:

  • your treatment options
  • support services available
  • what goals you and your doctor have agreed on

How can a mental health treatment plan help me?

If you are struggling with your mental health, having a mental health treatment plan can help cover the cost of seeing a specialist mental health professional.

It can also help you:

  • feel more in control of your mental health
  • feel supported

Am I eligible for a mental health treatment plan?

You can only access a mental health treatment plan if you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression.

How can I get a mental health treatment plan?

If you are struggling with mental health issues, visit your doctor.

When you make your appointment, make sure to book a longer appointment. Or say that you are interested in a mental health treatment plan. This way, you and your doctor will have enough time to discuss your mental health.

Your doctor will assess your mental health to:

This assessment usually involves a questionnaire. Your doctor will:

Sometimes, it can take a few visits to your doctor to diagnose a mental health condition.

What does a mental health treatment plan cover?

The mental health treatment plan is part of the Better Access initiative. This initiative aims to improve outcomes for people with a clinically diagnosed mental health condition.

A mental health treatment plan lets you claim up to 10 individual and 10 group sessions with a mental health professional each calendar year. The plan helps you access free or subsided sessions. Because health professionals set their own fees, Medicare may only cover some of the cost.

Group therapy does not include family and couple therapy.

To start with, your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional for 6 sessions. If you need more, they can refer you for further sessions.

Will my mental health treatment plan expire?

Your mental health treatment plan does not expire. You can begin using it at any time for the number of services you are referred for.

If you use all 10 sessions and you feel you need further support, visit your doctor.

Resources and support

You can find more information about mental health, mental health services and treatment plans through:

  • Services Australia — for information on government payments and services.
  • Beyond Blue or call 1300 22 4636 for mental health support.
  • Headspace — supporting young people and their families to be mentally healthy.

You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available to speak with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sources:

Services Australia (Better Access initiative - supporting mental health care), MBS Online (Medicare Benefits Schedule - Item 2712), Lifeline (What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan?), PANDA (How to get a mental health treatment plan)

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

How to get a mental health care plan | headspace

Getting a mental health care plan can make a big difference to your headspace. Find out more about what a mental health care plan is and how to get one.

Read more on headspace website

Mental health treatment plans - Better Health Channel

A mental health care plan explains the support provided by each member of a person's healthcare team

Read more on Better Health Channel website

support for mental health conditions under Medicare - COPE

COPE's purpose is to prevent and improve the quality of life of those living with emotional and mental health problems that occur prior to and within the perinatal period.

Read more on COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence website

A GP's role in supporting the family - Emerging Minds

We talk with Dr Andrew Leech who has over 12 years experience as a GP, and a special interest in child mental health and wellbeing.

Read more on Emerging Minds website

Mind psychologist services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule | Mind Australia

Eligible people can now get up to 10 sessions of support from a Mind Australia registered psychologist through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).There is currently no wait list for this new Mind service, so eligible people can access this service right away.The Medicare Benefits Schedule is a list of fees for health services set by the Australian Government for treatment as a private patient.

Read more on Mind Australia website

Dealing with stress - MindSpot Clinic

Read more on MindSpot Clinic website

Start Talking Telehealth

Gidget Foundation Australia’s Start Talking program provides free specialist perinatal Telehealth psychological counselling services for expectant and new parents nationwide. Start Talking offers the same quality of care available through Gidget Foundation Australia’s face-to-face psychology services at Gidget House, affording quality treatment for those with limited access.

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

Help from health professionals | Jean Hailes

Depending on your situation, you can get help from a range of health professionals. You might need help from a health professional if: your self-help…

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Therapies for parents and carers | Autism Awareness Australia

Less of us may be aware that parents go through a similar grieving process when their child is diagnosed with autism

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Adult with Congenital Heart Disease | HeartKids

HeartKids provides practical & emotional support for adults in Australia living with heart conditions. Learn more about the information & resources we provide.

Read more on HeartKids website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.