What Mental Health Services are available in Victoria?
What mental health services are available in Victoria? Read on to find out more.
In Australia we have access to many effective mental health services. This article will answer common questions about how and when to access specific services. It will outline distinguishing features of the services so that you can access the appropriate one. The services range from 24/7 lifelines to community social activities and private practice psychology. It’s important to remember that in an emergency you should call 000.
How can I access Mental Health Services?
Each state and territory has specific services available through public and private organisations. Unless it is an emergency most people see their General Practitioner as an initial step. Their GP can help offer preliminary support and referrals. Most of the Government services are location dependent; where you live will determine which service you can access. Speaking to your GP can make this process easier to navigate for you.
Government mental health services are divided into clinical and non-clinical1. Clinical involves psychological assessments and treatment for mental illness. Non-clinical involves various opportunities to get involved with community and social activities. A full list of available services can be found here.
With the use of telehealth, private practice Psychology is more accessible than ever. Unlike government mental health services there are no requirements to see a private billing psychologist or counsellor. People often seek these services for mental illness, difficult circumstances or difficulty functioning in day-to-day life. The last includes sleeping, socialising, maintaining relationships and employment. There are many options to receive subsidised sessions with psychologists and counsellors. Seeing a private practitioner often provides more flexibility and options than Government services too.
What if I want a service that represents my demographic or affiliation?
There are many alternative or indirect ways which you can improve your mental health. This includes joining a sports team, book club, religious group or support group. Even if you are simultaneously receiving mental health treatment, these additions will likely improve the benefits of treatment. Research has shown that the circumstances of the patient, the support of loved ones, sense of meaning and involvement, accounts for a large portion of their recovery2. There are specific support groups that help people recovering from addiction, struggling with parenthood and are living in a new country.
What are the benefits of MHS?
Mental health services effectively help people to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety3. They can also help people navigate difficult life circumstances like financial stress, grief and relationship issues. Psychotherapy can assist in addressing dysfunctional behaviours and thought patterns3. This often improves overall life satisfaction.
Are mental health services a waste of time and money?
Mental health issues and dysfunctional behaviour can severely impact our lives. Psychotherapy alone has an effectiveness of 80%2. This is incredibly high considering the factors outside of the control of the practitioner and the client. Mental health services in Australia are highly regulated by the government and independent bodies like the Australian Psychological Society. So, the services operate at a high standard of effectiveness and harm-minimisation.
Why don’t people seek treatment when they need it?
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why someone might avoid or delay mental health services. This can include a bad previous experience, stigma against mental health treatment and financial barriers4. If that’s the case for you, it might be worth speaking to your GP about your concerns. Alternatively, websites like Beyond Blue share personal accounts of people who have received mental health services.
By Will Sutherland
- Duncan, S. C., Miller, B. E. Wampold, and M. A. Hubble (Eds.), Heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy (2nd ed., pp. 357–392). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Australian Psychological Society. (2018). Evidence-based psychological interventions in the treatment of mental disorders: A literature review. Fourth Edition.