2020/21 Update: Medicare Sessions Doubled to 20
Announced in the 2020/21 Federal budget, subsidised mental health sessions through Medicare have doubled from 10 to 20 per calendar year.
The new scheme began 9 October 2020, and will run until 30 June 2022 for in-person sessions and until 31 March 2021 for telehealth or phone sessions. If you've already used your 10 sessions, you'll need to return to your GP for a referral for the additional sessions.
If you’re looking to begin with mental health sessions, first visit your GP for a Mental Health Treatment Plan. With that in hand, you can then be referred to an allied mental health service that accepts the Medicare rebate.
After receiving a referral, you can find a local (or telehealth) mental health occupational therapist on OTA’s ‘Find an OT’ directory. Search for Better Access to Mental Health (BAMH) under the funding scheme here: https://www.otaus.com.au/find-an-ot
Occupational therapists working in mental health help people to achieve the everyday activities that people engage in and find meaningful. They draw on a range of psychological and occupational therapy strategies to help people understand and cope with their daily function, productivity and capacity through the prescription of graded tasks and activities.
Occupational therapists in mental health use individual and group programs/activities to enhance independence in everyday activities. An occupational therapist may help to develop coping strategies for people overcoming their mental health issues or improving confidence and self esteem in social situations.
Occupational therapists assist individuals to:
- Develop skills to live more independently
- Deal with stress and emotions
- Link in with the community
- Cope with grief and loss
- Manage self esteem
- Develop communication skills
- Structure daily life