COVID-19 Updates and Resources
October 18 Update
Allied Health providers, including psychological counselling, are now permitted to resume routine and preventative care for individual patients. However we are also still required to follow the general principle "if you can work from home you must work from home" and any "onsite functions must operate under the minimum obligations to reduce the spread of coronavirus", which includes the mandatory use of face masks and closely fitted eye protection for all face-to-face services.
Given these guiding principles i am not yet offering in-person appointments and all treatment will continue to be provided via Telehealth at this stage.
Please check back here for updates as restrictions ease further over the coming weeks.
August 2020 Update
This week saw the announcement of further funding for people accessing psychological therapy on the Better Access initiative.
Who is eligible?
If you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP, and have already used your 10 Medicare rebated sessions for this year, then you may be eligible for an additional 10 sessions under this new funding arrangement.
The additional 10 sessions are to support people who:
You do not require a new Mental Health Treatment Plan but must have a review with your GP at the completion of the initial 10 sessions and be provided with a referral allowing access to sessions 11- 20.
If you have any questions about accessing these rebates please have a look at the websites below, or give me a call.
1 April Update
Medicare rebates are now available for Telehealth (video calls) for all clients with a valid Mental Health Care Plan and referral.
If your financial circumstances have changed, please speak with me about your options.
I will now be offering primarily Telehealth sessions, with face-to-face sessions reserved only for situations where they are clinically necessary.
If you'd like to know more about Telehealth please visit the new Telehealth page on my website
I hope to see you soon in my virtual office!
29 March Update
I'm pleased to advise that Medicare rebates for Telehealth appointments will be available to all clients as of Monday 30th March.
Details about exactly how this will work will follow tomorrow.
I know many of you have cancelled appointments with me over the past couple of weeks because you wanted to do the right thing and stay home, and were unable to proceed with Telethealth without the Medicare rebate. If you would now like to reschedule please get in touch with me directly.
If you'd like to know more about Telehealth and how it works please visit my new Telehealth info page.
Please note that face to face sessions will still be available for those who need them provided you do not feel unwell.
25 March Update
For this week face-to-face sessions are continuing as normal, with hygiene/distancing precautions.
The Federal Minister for Health has announced a Primary care support package, available from Monday 30th March. We are expecting that this will include an expansion of Telehealth items for mental health. Details will follow in the next couple of days.
In the wake of the Premiers announcement yesterday there has been some confusion about what services will remain open.
Rest assured that psychology - as other health and allied health services - is considered essential. So long as we maintain adequate social distancing we can continue to practice as usual.
We are awaiting an announcement on the expansion of telehealth items.
At present i am continuing to offer regular face-to-face sessions for clients.
If i feel unwell i will discontinue this, and i ask that if you feel unwell to please not come in for a face-to-face session. I am also taking all reasonable precautions to maintain a clean and disinfected environment. Please use the facilities provided to wash your hands.
I may ask to reduce your session time from 60min to 55min to allow space between clients for the purpose of social distancing. For the same reason i am asking clients to whenever possible, please try to avoid arriving early for your appointment.
I am set up for Telehealth and am happy to offer clients the option of having their session via phone/SKYPE/Facetime/Zoom etc.
As of March 21, Telehealth sessions will NOT attract a Medicare rebate, unless you meet certain criteria. In short if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, told to self-isolate, or qualify as part of a vulnerable population you may be eligible for bulk billed sessions under Telehealth arrangements. For all other people please talk to me about your options. For more information on Telehealth visit the MBS website.
These arrangements may change with short notice, and i will send text messages to all clients 1-2 days before their appointments to confirm appointments and provide updated information.
For more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself and others please visit the Australian Government Department of Health Website
Beyond Blue have developed a suite of resources to assist people experiencing mental health difficulties due to covid-19 and related challenges. This includes information, forums and a 24 hour support line. Click on the link below to access their Coronavirus specific webpage.
Changing our language
Many new terms and phrases have recently become part of our daily lexicon. One of these is the phrase "social distancing".
I'd like to highlight the difference between social distance and physical distance. I think it's important that we all maintain social connection during this time of physical distancing, and we can start by changing our language.
So let's help stop the spread of covid-19 by practicing suitable physical distancing, and support ourselves and each other by maintaining social connection.
New Website for assistance with Mental Health during the COVID-19 outbreak
Discussions and concerns around the coronavirus outbreak and practising self-isolation can be stressful and impact our mental health and wellbeing. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood. Many people feel distressed by the constant news and overwhelming amount of information about the situation.
Head to Health is committed to providing Australians with trusted information and digital supports to help support everyone's mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. This page covers where to get the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak, tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services, information for parents, and how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online.
Tips for coping with anxiety
The current situation with the spread of coronavirus has led to many people experiencing understandable unease and anxiety. There are ways in which we can minimise or cope better with these effects. Please click on the link below for further information provided by the Australian Psychological Society.
Tips for coping with social isolation
There are many challenges associated with isolating ourselves to help prevent the spread of Covid-19; including separation from loved ones, loss of freedom and reduced income. Many people are experiencing feelings of anxiety, boredom, frustration and fear.
Please click on the link below for further information on coping with isolation provided by The Australian Psychological Society.