The cost of mental health services varies enormously, depending on where you live and which service you are receiving.
If you see a doctor (GP or psychiatrist), Medicare covers some or all of that cost.
If you are in a public hospital, care is free.
If you are in a private hospital, you will be charged. If you have private health insurance, that will cover some of the costs.
If you see a community mental health service, that is free.
If you receive care or support from a non-government organisation (NGO), that is usually free.
The Australian Government’s Better Access initiative allows people to see mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, GPs, psychologists and other allied health practitioners, and have that care partly subsidised by Medicare. People with a diagnosed mental disorder and Mental Health Treatment Plan from their doctor can receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 individual and 10 group therapy sessions per calendar year.
Extra support is available until 30 June 2022 for people who are experiencing severe or enduring mental health impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They can access an extra 10 sessions, but will need to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan in place.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises the cost of most medicines for mental health.
The NDIS pays for support and care packages for people whose mental health condition impacts on their ability to function in everyday life.
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Last reviewed: April 2021