Our PHN recognises the current bushfire crisis in Australia, including bushfires that occurred in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region in late 2019, which continues to have a significant impact on communities directly and indirectly.
This page is designed to assist health professionals to link patients in with appropriate mental health services.
Available services - Darling Downs and West Moreton
Through the Australian Government Supporting the Mental Health of Australians Affected by Bushfire measure, our PHN has expanded eligibility requirements for Targeted Psychological Therapies to include individuals experiencing distress and trauma due to bushfires in Australia. This will provide up to 10 counselling sessions from 17 January 2020 until December 2021.
A Mental Health Treatment plan is not required to access these 10 sessions and referrals can be made through a GP or as a self-referral.
Eligibility requirements for Low Intensity programs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health services have also been expanded.
To find providers in your region, click on the links below:
Medicare Bushfire Recovery Intiative
Individuals, families and emergency response personnel affected by the bushfires are eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists and other mental health professionals through the Medicare Bushfire Recovery Initiative. Eligible patients can be referred without a Mental Health Treatment plan to ensure anyone can access these services quickly or access them at a time that suits them.
- Patients can also self-refer
- The new items are available to all people living in the community and there is no age restriction
- People living in residential aged care facilities are also able to access these services
Medicare rebates are also available to patients who cannot easily access mental health professionals in person through the Medicare Bushfire Recovery Telehealth Initiative.
The above services are available from 17 January 2020 until 31 December 2021.
Please note: Consultation fees charged by health professionals are determined by the provider or practice. Only a portion of costs are covered by Medicare unless the health professional bulk bills. The Government encourages all health professions to bulk bill Australians affected by the fires.
Additional support for your patients
Our PHN has compiled a list of resources that are available for community members, including additional nationally available services. This information can be found on our Bushfire Support page and we encourage you to direct your patients and their families to this page.
We have compiled a list of resources to help health professionals support their patients.
Black Dog Institute
In response to bushfires, the Black Dog Institute has established:
- a free Online Clinic which provides the public with online mental health assessment tool and links to tailored self-help materials
- a new online Bushfire Mental Health website that will link communities with a range of different support services
- advice on how to best manage the mental health of first responders and emergency services personnel including volunteer firefighters.
The Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Red Cross
Have available a network of APS psychologists deployed through the Red Cross to provide assistance across bushfire affected areas. Please also refer to the guide to supporting people affected by disaster at www.psychology.org.au
Life in Mind – Helplines, Resources, Disaster Toolkits and Fact Sheets
Life in Mind, and the mental health sector, have developed a webpage where existing helplines, disaster toolkits, resources and information can be found in the one location. This will be updated on an ongoing basis to ensure the information remains relevant to each phase and meets community needs.
On this page you'll find:
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