Settlement Guide

Settlement Guide: 3 steps to access mental health services under Medicare

Mental illness is the third highest cause of burden of disease in Australia after cancer and cardiovascular disease. Source: AAP

Through the Better Access initiative, Medicare rebates are available to patients for selected mental health services, provided by general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, eligible social workers and occupational therapists.

1. Visit your GP to assess your condition. Your GP can prepare a “Mental Health Treatment Plan”

Medicare rebates are available for up to ten visits to mental health services per calendar year.

doctor with stethoscope
Alex Proimos

2. You can be referred to certain Medicare mental health services, such as psychiatrists, once you have a GP “Mental Health Treatment Plan” in place

mental health at work
PA Wire

3. Depending on your health care needs, following the initial course of six treatment sessions you can return to your GP or psychiatrist for a new referral for an additional four sessions

Public Domain

Who is eligible?

All Medicare card holders with an assessed mental disorder. The Better Access initiative does not cover dementia, delirium, tobacco use disorder and intellectual disabilities.

Further information on the Better Access initiative is available at:

Information regarding eligibility, claiming and payment processes can be obtained from Medicare Australia on 132 011 or at:

Better access to mental health care fact sheet:$File/patients2.pdf