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Step-by-Step: How Does a Mental Health Treatment Plan Work?

If you’re in crisis or feeling unsafe, please call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

If you have concerns about your mental health, it’s a good idea to talk to someone. Our Doctors are here to have a private and non-judgmental conversation about how you can get the support you need. 

A Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) is a structured plan that outlines the treatment and support a person with mental health issues can receive. Your mental health treatment plan will be developed and agreed to by you in collaboration with your doctor and will include the goals, treatment options and support services available.  

The MHTP is part of the Australian government’s mental health initiative, which aims to provide accessible and effective mental health care to individuals. 

A Mental health treatment plan is your first step to accessing mental health treatment 

Mental health treatment plans are for people with a mental illness who are under the care of multiple healthcare professionals. Your doctor will work with you to map out a treatment plan that explains what services you need, and when, as well as your goals for each service and any additional treatment options suitable for you.   

Additionally, your plan may include strategies for managing crisis situations or preventing relapses. There may also be instances where your doctor contributes to a care plan arranged by someone else – for example, when you are returning home from spending time in hospital.  

One of the primary reasons for obtaining a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) is to access Medicare benefits for psychology sessions. With a valid plan, you can receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions with eligible mental health professionals, reducing the cost of treatment. You will need a valid Medicare card to be assessed for a MHTP, and to receive a MHTP that is eligible for Medicare rebates.  

A MHTP isn’t just a piece of paper – it’s an actual plan for your mental health treatment, helping you work toward improved wellbeing and recovery. If you are seeing multiple healthcare providers for your mental health, the plan helps coordinate care among them. This ensures that all professionals involved are working together to provide you with the most effective support. 

Ongoing support from your care team

Delivering continuous care to an individual living with a mental health condition often involves various supports. These may include General Practitioners (GPs), psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers or other care providers. They all play a role in your healthcare team, working together to ensure you receive the highest quality of care. You also play an important role in this team and should be actively involved in the development of your Mental Health Treatment plan (MHTP). Everyone’s needs are different, so your personalised treatment plan puts down in writing the support you can expect and ensures that everyone on your team is clear about their responsibilities.  

A Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) covers a range of mental health services and treatments for individuals with diagnosed mental health conditions. This could include things like psychology, psychiatry, counselling, group therapy or individual therapy, support groups, self-help strategies, lifestyle changes or medication. 

Book a video consultation with a Doctor 

A Doctor is your first point of contact for help with mental health issues.

You can schedule an appointment to speak with a Doctor about a Mental Health Care Treatment Plan. Your consultation will proceed over video so make sure you’ve got a suitable device with video and audio capabilities. 

You’ll need to read over a list of statements and pick a number (0-3) which indicates how much the statement applied to you over the past week i.e. ‘not at all’ though to ‘all the time’. You don’t need to spend too much time on each question, there are no right or wrong answers. 

Your doctor will assess and, if they deem it appropriate, work with you to set goals, and develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP). There is a possibility that a MHTP is not created, it is not a guaranteed outcome.  Your doctor may consider other treatment options as more appropriate for you. 

A rebated Mental Health Treatment Plan can only be issued to patients with a valid Medicare card at the discretion of the treating Doctor. If you are not issued a plan, the Doctor will give you their reasons for not doing so and suggest alternatives for your care. 

If you believe this is not the best outcome for your care, ensure you have a conversation with your doctor about why you believe a rebated Mental Health Treatment Plan would meet your needs. 

If your doctor believes medication should form part of your treatment plan, they may prescribe medication. Alternatively, they may provide a referral to a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist may prescribe medication. 

Your doctor/s may suggest multiple options for your treatment; however, medication does not always form part of a mental health treatment plan. 

It is important that your care plan is reviewed regularly.  Once you have completed your first 6 sessions with a mental health professional, you will need to come back for review with our doctors. If appropriate, your doctor will then refer you for another 4 sessions (out of a total of 10 allowed per calendar year on a plan).