Mental health support during COVID-19
You can access up to 10 extra Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions each year until 31 December 2022.
To access the extra sessions you must:
- have a mental health treatment plan
- have used the initial 10 individual Better Access sessions in the calendar year you sought a referral
- receive a referral for the additional 10 sessions from your reviewing health care provider.
Your health care provider will decide how many sessions you can receive in your referral.
If you have a current referral (either for the initial 10 sessions or the additional 10 sessions) and have not used all of the sessions, you can use that referral to access sessions in 2023. However, you cannot receive more than 10 individual sessions in 2023.
Information on the MBS items available for Better Access sessions is available on MBS Online.
Read more about this change.
Other available support
You can speak with your GP about whether Primary Health Network (PHN) commissioned services may be appropriate in their circumstances. PHNs are funded by the Government to commission a range of mental health and suicide prevention services at a regional level, this includes for people who are underserviced by the MBS. Contact details for PHNs are available.
You may also like to consider using digital services. You can use digital services to complement, or as an alternative to, face-to-face therapies. They allow you to seek support in times of need, when and where it’s most convenient. The Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health, is a consumer-friendly website that aims to help people more easily access information. Head to Health provides advice and free or low cost phone and online counselling, treatment and crisis support. Further information is available at the head to health website.
Head to Health Pop Ups for people living in NSW and Victoria
Head to Health Pop Up clinics were initially established to provide additional support to people of all ages living in New South Wales and Victoria who were experiencing mental health issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All clinics offer free telehealth or COVID-safe face-to-face appointments. Services are delivered by a multidisciplinary team of skilled mental health professionals. To access these clinics, make a free call to 1800 595 212 – Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (except public holidays).
A GP referral or mental health treatment plan is not required.
Pop Up clinics will transition over time to permanent services currently being established by the Commonwealth and state and territory Governments.
For more information about Head to Health services including Pop Up clinics visit www.headtohealth.gov.au or call: 1800 595 212.
If you need help now
If you need help right now, services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in Australia:
- Beyond Blue Support Service
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
- Kids helpline
- Suicide Call Back Service
If you are experiencing an emergency:
Other support to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic is available.
Learn more about financial support.
Learn how to access health care and medicines.