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The bad side of Mental Health Care Plans

Perhaps we don't talk about this enough - there is a bad side to Mental Health Care Plans, so perhaps it's just not worth the hassle for a bit of Medicare rebate?

I have just read a couple of interesting articles on the web about GP Mental Health Care Plans:

This one from the abc:

https://www.abc.net.au/life/why-i-hate-seeing-my-gp-for-mental-health-care-plan/10868654

And this one from news.com

https://amp.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mind/ginger-gorman-im-stuck-with-an-insurance-mental-health-exclusion-because-i-dared-to-see-a-psychologist/news-story/98ce51c6071235a77739baa54b3db6de?__twitter_impression=true

Both of these articles highlight some of the potential down side of seeing your GP for a MH Care Plan. Here are a couple of important points:

* To get a care plan you first must get a diagnosis. This diagnosis goes into your medical record and sticks. It may come back to haunt you, e.g. when you are applying for a job, or insurance

* The process of getting a MH Care Plan can make you feel worse. This is a common problem when the doctor uses a checklist type assessment or one that solely uses a symptoms/wekness/deficit approach. It literally highlights your weaknesses. When you focus on what's bad, the bad appears bigger. If you weren't depressed when you walked in, you will be by the time you walk out. 

* A MH Care Plan limits your options to 10 sessions with a psychologist. I don't want to bad-mouth psychologists, but the system makes you reliant on them. Very few psychologists use approaches to get you feeling better with the absolute lowest number of sessions possible. In the long run you will pay more.

* You have to wonder if the Medicare rebate is actually worth it. 

I would encourage you to think about an alternative:

* self referral to an expert clinician rather than going through a 3rd party, one where you are not locked into a psychologist-only option

* you do not need a diagnosis or something to go on your permanent record

* use an approach like SFBT where you do not have to be locked in to 10 sessions, and you don't have to go back year after year. An approach where you can go to the least amount of sessions and not one more.

* use an absolute person-centred approach; one that puts you in control, where you guide the course of "treatment"

Consider a self-referral to a Solution Focused approach with Left Turn Solutions.

 

Let's talk solutions.