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How to support your teen when you can't afford to see a professional

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How to support your teen when you can't afford to see a professional


How to support your teen when you can't afford to see a professional

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Accessing mental health support can be a challenging and expensive process. Travelling to appointments, purchasing medication and treatment fees all add up, making a stressful situation even harder. 

The rising cost of living and extra pressure put on many families over the past couple of years is incredibly tough to deal with, so we have put together resources and information to help make getting support for your young person easier. 

Mental health care plan 

A mental health care plan (MHCP)  is a great place to start finding affordable mental health support. The first step is to visit your GP and ask for an MHCP. They'll review your mental health concerns and ask you to complete questionnaires about how you’re going, like the K-10 scale. Your GP will refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist.

Information about MHCP: 

  • A Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) is a mental health treatment plan.
  • It provides access to up to 10 partially subsidised sessions with a psychologist or social worker each year.
  • Psychologist appointments can cost upwards of $200 an hour.
  • With an MHCP, you can get $89.65 back for each session with a registered psychologist.
  • You can get $131.65 for sessions with a clinical psychologist.


Bulk-billing practices

If you’ve tried a Mental Health Care Plan and the cost is still too high for you to maintain, you might want to consider trying a mental health practitioner who bulk bills. When a medical practice bulk bills, they send the bill for your GP or psychology service directly to Medicare, and they accept whatever rebate they receive as the full payment for your appointment. This means that there are no out-of-pocket expenses for you!

You can find bulk billing GPs and psychologists using databases like:

Simply enter your location and what kind of support you’re looking for, and these search engines will provide you with a list of bulk billing mental health professionals near you.


Free or low-cost mental health support 

We have found some free mental health services which may be helpful for those who meet the eligibility criteria for each program. 

  • Dokotela is a psychiatry clinic offering a free one-off review of treatment plans for young people above 18 years old living in a regional or rural area. 
  • MindSpot Clinic offers free online mental health care. The first step is to complete an assessment which will be shared with a therapist who’ll support you via telehealth. 
  • BeyondBlue created a program called New Access which offers six free mental health coaching without needing a GP referral. This program is specifically for people who aren’t seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. 
  • Headspace clinics offer free or low-cost mental health support; if they can’t provide an appointment, they’ll refer you locally. 
  • ReachOut’s one-on-one parenting support service is free of charge and is designed to support you in helping your teen. 
  • SANE guided service is designed for people over 18 years old with or caring for someone with complex mental health needs. The service offers one-on-one counselling support, multi-session phone counselling, peer-led online support groups and more. 



Contacting a helpline is beneficial when you need someone to talk to fast, and helpline counsellors can also provide you with information and referrals. 

Head to Health is available from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, to talk to a mental health professional and be connected with the support that best meets your needs. Contact them on 1800 595 212

Headspace offers 24/7 phone counselling support to young people and their families. You can contact them on 1800 650 890

Butterfly Foundation offers 24/7 phone support to anyone experiencing an eating disorder. You can contact them on 1800 33 4673.

Drug and Alcohol Foundation offers 24/7 support for people struggling with drug use and their loved ones. You can contact them on 1300 85 85 84.

Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support to anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide. You can contact them on 13 11 14.