Tips On Getting a Mental Health Treatment Plan

1. What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan?

  • A Mental Health Treatment Plan lets you claim a Medicare rebate on your sessions with your chosen mental health professional, up to 10 per calendar year

  • A Mental Health Treatment Plan can save you over a $1000 a year

  • You can get a Mental Health Treatment Plan from your doctor, or any GP

2. How to get a Mental Health Treatment Plan?

Firstly, go to any doctor and ask for one. If you need to make an appointment, mention that you need an MHTP when you book as they usually book you in for a longer appointment than usual. There is no requirement to see your family doctor. It doesn’t even have to be a doctor that you’ve seen before.

3. What happens at the doctor’s?

Some doctors will collect a full history from you and your mental health, ask you to fill out a questionnaire which is a 1-5 scale on approx 10 questions and attempt to make a diagnosis. They may discuss your treatment goals, and talk you through the treatments they’ve planned for you.

You will have to talk about your mental health with the doctor, so be prepared but don't worry about this, it is just procedure. The first time I went I felt such stress I had to ‘pass’ their questionnaire otherwise they would not give me a MHTP.

Other doctors, usually bulk billing doctors, will quickly fill out a plan template with the minimum required information. This is bad if you’re relying on the GP for care. It’s not so bad if you’re taking more responsibility for your own care, because now you’ve got your plan so you can get your Medicare rebates. You can do all the goals and treatment planning with the mental health professional. Personally, I go to a bulk billing doctor to save me some dollars and get them to sign off on a new MHTP each year.

Almost certainly you’ll get a referral for your chosen mental health professional. If you already have one in mind, by using Finding Franky, you can ask for the referral to be written to that practitioner.

4. How many sessions do I get?

Your MHTP gives you 6 sessions. When you’ve used them you can go back to the doctor and get another 4 sessions. Then that’s it for the calendar year. You are eligible for another 10 from January 1

5. What if I don’t like the plan or the Mental Health Professional chosen for me?

This is where Finding Franky comes in!

You can choose your mental health professional from Finding Franky before you visit your doctor and tell your doctor who you wish to see. If you do not name your preference, your doctor will choose one for you. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT THEIR PROPOSAL!

Your MHTP allows you Medicare rebates for 6 sessions with any mental health professional. If you don’t feel you are bonding with your chosen practitioner, you can choose a different one. You still get your rebate, and you don’t need a new MHTP or updated referral letter.

If you need some help finding a mental health professional who is right for you, we are here to help.

6. What makes me eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan?

Most MHTP’s are for depression or anxiety. Here’s the full list of conditions that are eligible:

  • Anxiety disorder

  • Adjustment disorder

  • Depression

  • Conduct disorders

  • Bereavement disorders

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Sleep problems

  • Attention deficit disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Co-occurring anxiety and depression

7. Can I meet with my Mental Health Professional before getting a Mental Health Treatment Plan?

Yes, but please be aware that you cannot get rebates for any sessions that happen before the date your MHTP was filed with Medicare. The day you visit your GP the MHTP will be filed.

8. Why does my doctor need to be involved?

Your GP might be familiar with your medical and personal history which can be useful. They can help manage your medication, and prescribe things for you, which your mental health professional (except psychiatrists) can’t do. So if you have a good doctor they can be part of your mental health care team.

On the other hand, all the work the doctor does to prepare an MHTP probably gets re-done by the mental health professional. You might decide to make the mental health professional a more important part of your care, and just get through the MHTP formalities. The latter was my approach.

What are the next steps? Read our Tips on Receiving a Medicare Rebate. Search our Finding Franky database for a mental health professional. Ready to speak to someone? Get a 10 minute free consultation.