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Psychology, Mental Health Nursing & Counselling

As part of a Mental Health Care Plan your doctor may refer you to one of First Step’s Psychologists or Mental Health Nurses. These services may also be available to your partner or family members.

Medicare funds 10 sessions over a calendar year with a Psychologist or Mental Health Nurse.  More services may be available if you live or work in the City of Port Phillip.

Mental Health Nursing or Psychology - whats the difference?

There is some overlap between Mental Health Nursing and Psychology. Broadly speaking, a Mental Health Nurse is qualified to help you with:

  • Psychiatric medicines (which drug, the dosing schedule and minimising side-effects)
  • Replacement pharmacotherapy (how best to make this work for you)
  • Specialised assessment tools that will help us deliver a complete, whole-person approach to your treatment (legal problems, housing issues, etc.)

A Psychologist can help you with:

  • Emotional support and care
  • Management of anxiety, depression, stress, anger, grief
  • Replacing addiction with healthier coping strategies
  • Improving relationships and communication skills
  • Healing painful memories and gaining personal insights
  • Creating a better future by developing new goals and healthy behaviours

What is a Mental Health Care Plan?

A mental health care plan is a support plan for someone who is going through mental health issues.  It enables you to access eligible allied health professionals who can help you to get better and live well. If your GP agrees that you need additional support, you and the doctor will write the plan together.  This will give you access to Medicare funded sessions with a mental health professional: the Government will pay some or all of the cost of up to 10 sessions in a calendar year.  At First Step we bulk bill your 10 sessions so that you are not out of pocket.

A mental health care plan:

  • Enables you to see a First Step psychologist who specialises in addiction,
  • Assists in setting and achieving positive goals,
  • Enables you to be more involved in your own immediate and long term care,
  • Provides an essential checklist to ensure continuity of care and encourages a team approach to the patient-centred plan,
  • Focuses on improving and maintaining health rather than waiting for illness onset.