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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Treatment options in the public sector

Topic: Treatment options in the public sector

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. supportiveother
    supportiveother avatar
    12 posts
    23 July 2018

    Hi all,

    I'm new to these forums but know that many people here have been through or know far more than I do on these topics so I am reaching out. My partner suffers major depressive disorder and psychosis (thats his official diagnosis) and has been taking medications for that which have recently been increased. On top of the medication he is on a mental health plan through medicare and sees a psychologist for about 30 mins every 4 to 6 weeks. Recently, his mood has taken a dive and at his last appointment, the psychologist recommended that perhaps he stay in hospital to be monitored. He feels the medication works very minimally, and I worry that the frequency of his visits isn't enough to have a real impact.

    He has been admitted to the acute psychiatric ward at our local hospital before and says it made him feel worse, that all he did was sleep and eat and seeing the other people there (who may have been suffering worse than him) made him feel more depressed. Because of this he didn't feel like the hospital stay helped him at all, he wasn't being given any kind of therapy it was more just being monitored. I believe he needs more frequent therapy/ a ward that offers more consistent therapy where he can learn to control his negative emotions and thoughts and he too thinks that this would be beneficial but is hesitant to head back to hospital as he doesn't want to just lie in bed for days on end not really working through his issues.

    He doesn't have private health insurance, so I was wondering if anyone knew of any options available in the public sector that were free/ relatively cheap (he's currently on Centrelink due to an injury so money is an issue) that could offer more consistent support/therapy or even any wards available to the public that has these kinds of programs.

    Thanks in advance,

    M

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    23 July 2018 in reply to supportiveother

    Hi M,

    I hope it’s okay for me to extend a gentle welcome to you to the forums. I’m glad you’re reaching out here and you sound like a very caring and loving partner. I feel he is very lucky to have you in his corner.

    Sadly, I know that more regular therapy can be very expensive for most people so I get where you’re coming from. Maybe I’ll offer some suggestions that you might like to consider...

    • Bulk billing psychologists: there are a small number of psychs who don’t charge out-of-pocket so maybe see you can find a psych who bulk bills.
    • Local mental health support groups: maybe do some online research to see if there are any local support group(s) as it can be very empowering and helpful to be able to share experiences (plus coping strategies) with other people who are also struggling with mental health issues. Plus some are even facilitated by a counsellor. Typically support groups are free.
    • One renowned organisation is called Grow. If you google “Grow support groups”, you should be able to find it. It runs support groups in many locations all around Australia. It’s community based and uses a 12-step prevention and rehabilitation program.
    • Helplines: this includes BeyondBlue, Lifeline, etc. Maybe your partner could consider making regular calls to a helpline as part of his support network. Many are either free or only incur the charge of one standard phone call.

    I hope this gives you some ideas...

    In the mean time, I also hope you remember to try to take some time out for yourself as caring for someone living with mental illness can be very emotionally draining at times (even if you love them very much). Just a gentle suggestion...

    If you’re feeling up to it, I hope we hear from you again so you can let us know how you and your partner are doing. That said, there’s no pressure...just in your own good time if you find writing here helpful.

    Warmth and kindness,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    23 July 2018 in reply to supportiveother

    Hi M,

    I wrote an earlier post to you with some suggestion but I’ve been personally having some tech issues so I’m not sure of the status of my earlier post. My suggestions can be summarised as bulk billing psychologists, support groups and helplines. I wrote about it in more detail in my other post.

    I’ll keep an eye out for it and check in again with you later. In the mean time, I’m thinking of you want you to know that you’re heard and acknowledged.

    Warmth and kindness,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  4. supportiveother
    supportiveother avatar
    12 posts
    23 July 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Hi Pepper,

    I appreciate the response and the options! Its certainly overwhelming trying to research what options are available when you don't have much money, it seems theres so many amazing services that can only be accessed by those who are better off which is such a shame!

    Those suggestions certainly sound helpful and I'll definitely discuss them with my partner. He's just at that point where he knows he needs help, the help he's getting is too infrequent to really help, and now we're not sure what else to do!

    Do you know much about staying in hospital for depression in the public system?

    Kind regards,

    M

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    24 July 2018 in reply to supportiveother

    Hi M,

    Thank you so much for writing again. I so value hearing from you again :)

    You’re most welcome and I completely agree with you that finance can limit many people’s treatment options. It’s true that having more financial means opens up treatment and support options. Sadly this isn’t available to those who can’t afford it...

    Sorry, I’m afraid that I don’t know too much about staying in hospital in the public system. Hopefully someone else reading this can help you out out with their personal experiences?

    Sorry, I hope you don’t mind if I put it in bold and underlined. It’s just that I’m hoping it makes it easier for another poster to see it...

    Otherwise, I found a thread on the BeyondBlue forums that you might find helpful. It’s called voluntarily committing yourself to be an inpatient in hospital. You can find it if you type the thread name, “voluntarily committing yourself to be an inpatient in hospital” in the BeyondBlue search bar.

    I hope this helps a little...

    Kindness and warmth,

    Pepper

  6. Alexlisa
    Alexlisa avatar
    193 posts
    27 July 2018 in reply to supportiveother

    Hello M,

    I’m really glad you reached out here. Fighting to find public mental health support can be such a nightmare, and most of the services I’ve found have been through other people’s recommendations. I spent many years trying to find help in the public system and it’s so tough. I eventually gave up and got private insurance so that when I need to go to hospital I can get actual help. I also spend a day each week in an outpatient program which is so useful to have that constant support. Sometimes it’s just not financially possible, I know, which is just terrible that we should have to forgo our right to good medical care if we can’t afford it. I know for me, I would rather keep my insurance than eat. It’s so sad.

    Pepper has given some great ideas. I am also on Centrelink, so have had to be creative in finding help I could afford. I was wondering if your partner sees a psychiatrist? It can take some time to find, but there are bulk billing psychiatrists out there. I think you might have more luck finding this than a bulk billing psychologist. Some psychiatrists provide quite a lot of therapy, rather than just medication management.

    The other thing that I’ve found extremely useful was finding a GP that I feel really comfortable with discussing my mental health. A lot of GPs will bulkbill patients on Centrelink, and you can see them as frequently as you need. My GP is fantastic and I will come in sometimes for a long appointment where she just checks how I’m going and if there’s anything we can work on. It took a while to find a GP that was willing to be that person for me, but she has been really supportive and also proactive in getting me other help when I need it.

    The other service that has been immensely helpful to me was Partners in Recovery, which is an organisation funded by the government. I was given a support worker who helped me to work out what services I needed and then helped me to access them. They were great in knowing what was out there and advocating for me. They found me a bulk billing psychiatrist and helped me apply for Centrelink and the NDIS, and I started going to a local day centre that ran activities for people with mental illnesses.

    I hope this helps a little. I completely understand how terribly hard and overwhelming it is to find affordable support. I wish you luck that you will find what your partner needs, and the persistence to not give up searching.

    Take care,

    Alexlisa x

    1 person found this helpful
  7. supportiveother
    supportiveother avatar
    12 posts
    31 July 2018 in reply to Alexlisa

    Hi Alexlisa,

    Thanks for the response and the excellent suggestions. You aren't wrong in how difficult it is to find help in the public sector, especially since we generally have a fairly accessible health care system in Australia, its a shame! I'll definitely be pushing him to get on private insurance once his Centrelink kicks in and he's got some money but until then we'll have to make do without.

    He is currently seeing a psychologist on a mental health plan and doesn't appear to have to pay any gap but I worry about what will happen when the allotted ten sessions end and am hoping to find him something suitable before then. I've had trouble finding a psychologist/psychiatrist/ anything that bulk bills beyond the ten sessions he gets under medicare (or at least charges a fee he can afford). He saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed him and prescribed his medication etc. but they sent the plan to the GP and its his GP he sees on a monthly basis to check in with regards to his medication.

    Partners in Recovery certainly sounds like an excellent organisation and super helpful so I'll definitely be looking further into that. It's such a struggle to find support that I honestly have just been finding these forums helpful in knowing that there are some options, they just might be hard to find!

    Thanks all,

    M x

    1 person found this helpful

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