Migrants communities and non-English speakers are far less likely to access mental health services than those who were born in Australia. If you feel like you could have mental health issues and need support, there are many ways to get professional help.
Even if we don’t talk about them as much as physical issues, mental health problems are common. In the past year alone, one in five Australians would have dealt with some form of mental disorder.
Talk to your GP
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, talk to your GP.
“Their GP is often a great first port of call to find out a bit more, and to get an assessment, and then potentially to get a referral to see someone like a psychologist or some other mental health expert,” Dr Stephen Carbone tells SBS.
Doctors and interpreters will respect your confidentiality; they are required by law to keep what you’re saying private.
For non-English speakers who require translation services there are options available through services such as TIS National.
How to afford it?
The Medicare system provides the Better Access initiative, which allows you to access up to 10 subsidised sessions with a psychologist or mental health expert every year.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible to the ATAPS program, which provides up to 12 (sometimes 18) sessions a year.
To access those services and rebates, you’ll need a referral and Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.
Community centres and organisations also provide many counselling services for people who live in Australia, but might not have access to Medicare.
Getting help on the phone or online
If you’re not comfortable meeting face to face or need immediate assistance, you can get on the phone or online.
MindSpot offers online screening assessments and free treatment courses.
The Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 is for children, teenagers and young adults aged between 5 and 25.
If you need language support, call TIS National on 131 450 first, then ask for the organisation you’d like to contact. You can also use TIS to book an interpreter for your visit to the GP and psychologist.
Talk to somebody
Having a mental illness and asking for helping is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re not feeling well, it’s important that you talk to a doctor, a mental health organization or somebody you trust.