As a GP who has provided many Mental Health Care Plans (MHCPs) over the years, I want to say that from my perspective, it is not something that one should should be embarrassed asking for.
There is absolutely NO shame in seeking help for your problems, and in fact I think most GPs would think that the patient is being brave and strong in seeking to see someone to trying work out some strategies or solutions.
I understand that sometimes it is scary to admit to yourself, never mind to someone else, that you feel you have a problem and that you need help with it … however I can almost guarantee you that the doctor will be happy to help you to find and settle into the right therapy.
Lets just talk nitty gritty for a minute. Just so everyone knows how it works:
So in order to see a psychologist, and be able to claim some of the cost from Medicare, you have to have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) from a GP. This means booking an appointment ( make it a double or let the receptionist know you are coming in for a MHCP).
You may have to answer a list of questions about your mental state and/or fill in some forms about your levels of depression /anxiety.
This is all pretty standard but some may find it a bit daunting or wonder why they are being asked questions that may not seem to be directly relevant to them.
Once the doctor writes up the plan and charges you the item number for the plan, Medicare “knows" you have one and you are now entitled to a rebate on 6 sessions with a psychologist of your choice who has registration with Medicare .
Medicare doesn’t actually see the plan. Only you and your psychologist have access to it.
After the first 6 sessions, if you are happy with the progress and you and your therapist feel it is appropriate to continue, you go back to your GP, who does a review and then you can access a further 4 sessions in that calendar year.
One can have 10 sessions per calendar year covered by Medicare rebates.
Note that sometimes the first therapist you meet isn’t the right fit for you. In that case you can move to another one and use the remaining sessions that you have left for that calendar year with them .
It is a really important part of getting back on track - finding the right therapy with the right person … so don't be at all embarrassed to step forward and ask your GP to help you get into that place. Your mental health is absolutely the priority and doctors, in my experience, are genuinely happy for those that want to find somewhere to be their best selves.