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If you are experiencing mental health issues and concerns, a mental health care plan might be perfect for you.

What is a Mental Health Care Plan?

A Mental Health Care Plan (or a Mental Health Treatment Plan) is a brief document that your General Practitioner or psychologist prepares. This mental health care plan can help you find the appropriate support you need.

A mental health care plan may include:

  • A referral to an expert (GP, Psychologist, Social Worker, Pediatrician, and other community care providers)
  • Best treatment options and appropriate time to get one
  • Emergency crisis plan – what to do in a crisis and how to prevent relapse

Anyone who is suffering from mild anxiety to severe depression and other debilitating mental health conditions should talk to their doctor about a mental health care plan.

Why You Should Get A Mental Health Care Plan?

Having a care plan in place helps you set and achieve your mental health goals. It ensures that everyone in your care team is going in the same direction and working on the same goals. It makes it easier for them to monitor your mental progress and manage your long-term care.

A mental health care plan provides life-saving information during emergencies and can lead you to better treatment by improving and maintaining your mental health care.

Do not wait for severe symptoms to occur before you go and seek professional help. If you have been feeling a bit ‘off’ and think something is wrong, it’s always worth talking to your doctor about it.

Here is how you can get on a Mental Health Care Plan:

Book an appointment with a GP

If you do not have a regular GP or General Practitioner, it is easy to find one in Melbourne and other states and territories in Australia. Any GP can create a personalised mental health care plan for you based on your needs. It helps to give the doctor’s office a call beforehand to say your purpose and book your appointment ahead of time. Creating a mental health care plan may take longer and requires a double booking, so it is important to give your doctor a heads up.

The Creating Process

During the appointment, the GP or other care professionals will talk to about your recent experiences and analyse symptoms that will help them create a suitable mental health care plan for you.  You may feel a bit nervous about opening up but that is normal. Healthcare professionals are trained to listen so take a deep breath and tell them about your condition.

In some situations, your GP may refer you to other doctors who specialise in handling mental health. Referrals are made for a clearer diagnosis and better handling of your mental health condition.

The Preparation

When going to a doctor’s office, make sure you take the essentials with you. ID’s for first-timers, cash or card for payment, and your Medicare Card (if you have one). The Medicare rebate covers you for a certain amount of the value of your session for your mental health care plan.

In some cases, the doctor may ask you to fill out questionnaires beforehand about your family history, work and financial situation, cultural background, beliefs, and recent and past psychological and emotional experiences that may be affecting your mental health state.

Remember, everyone’s mental health needs are different. Your mental health care plan should help you and your care team work out what treatments are best for you.

So, getting a mental health care plan is a big step in a happier, healthier, and more connected life.