Access to Mental Health Professionals

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_subgirrl, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    In several threads recently, people who are obviously in need of professional help for mental illness have mentioned cost as a reason for not obtaining this help. Out of curiosity, and to help all those who need it, I thought it would be great to have a thread where we can discuss low-cost access to mental health professionals. What country do you live in, and what is help is available in your area?

    In Australia, if you have a mental illness, Medicare covers 12 free visits per year to psychologists and/or social workers. In addition to this, people with a mental health condition are entitled to 12 free group sessions per year.

    Most universities also offer free counselling for students.
     
  2. IntoxicatingToxin

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    A lot of churches have counselors or therapists, or even social workers, that are available for free or cheap - and you don't even have to be a member of the church.
     
  3. Adam70

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    In the UK one can see psychologists/psythotherapists for free through the National Health Service. Many organisations also offer free counselling. However, sometimes there can be a long waiting list.
     
  4. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    Here's some info I received in a PM from an Australian member (posted with the individuals permission):

    "in Victoria any member of the public can walk into a regional mental health centre and request assessment and treatment, once you are on their premises its their responsibility and they have a duty of care to refer you if they cannot asses or treat you. Its often referred to as "a walk in " It will probably be to its regional Casualty triage dept. All large regional public hospitals have a casualty triage where Mental Health needs of the public are assessed and treated."
     
  5. D_Ezdras Dingledonger

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    People just need better health insurance. More often than not, a good, all-encompassing policy will cover most if not all the costs related to therapy. As far as I know, health insurance is also mandatory in most first-world countries, so at worst, they'd only be paying a little more on top of what they do now every month. It's a good idea for people to call their company and make sure first though - you don't want to get a better policy only to find out that you're not covered.

    To be honest, I think people who need help often just don't know where to start and can't be bothered to get the ball rolling themselves, so the cost involved becomes the go-to copout. It's a shame, because counseling really can help.
     
    #5 D_Ezdras Dingledonger, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  6. Jason

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    In the UK the General Practitioner service is the "gate-keeper" for access to all NHS services. Many mental health problems will be treated by a GP not a specialist. Access is quick and treatment is free - but usually in the form of a prescription for tablets.

    Treatment by a specialist is also free - but there are waiting lists. Most UK private health insurance policies exclude mental health problems (and including them is a very large add on cost). For most people in the UK treatment by a specialist is rationed not by cost but by waiting list. There is some excellent treatment - but there is also some "tick-box" treatment (ie patient has been seen and given a prescription and some limited counselling, so tick whatever the outcome).

    As pointed out above many UK unis and colleges offer student support. Typically there is an excess demand. Those providing the service are usually not specialists. A very few workplaces give some help.

    In the UK the whole area still has stigma attached and there are lots of people who need help who don't seek it.

    It is hard to escape the view that there is something wrong with our (UK) society which is causing so many mental health problems. I know there is much better diagnosis but it seems there is also a far higher incidence.
     
    #6 Jason, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  7. thetramp

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    In Germany there is plenty of help available without big costs.
    Insurance usually covers psycho therapy, you get a certain number of visits first to make sure it is the right therapist for you, than you have to fill out a form and wait for the insurance to approve.

    There are many groups who are free to join, some hosted by churches some by NGA or charities, depending on what the problem is. There are also special opportunities to get help for pupil and students, and some unions offer such things as well i think.
     
  8. cdarro

    cdarro New Member

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    Never had occaision to use it, so I'm not sure exactly what's covered in Alberta (Canada), but psychiatrist visits I'm sure would be covered since they are MDs. Don't know about psychologists and counselling services, but I suspect they are only partially if at all covered. A glance at the Alberta Health Services website shows many community-based programs (albertahealthservices.ca), and these would be covered under basic coverage. Extended coverage programs would cover any prescribed drugs up to 70% or so of cost.
     
  9. luka82

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    In Serbia you don`t want to have mental issues! Having a mental problem is still a taboo here. And you don`t want to end up in our mental institutions either. But we do have some great doctors, most of them are university professors and work in the same hospital in Belgrade. But that hospital is almost impossible to get in.
    Insurance here covers mental problems but like I said you can only wish never to visit a psychiatrist here.
     
  10. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    This isn't true for Australia. Here private health insurance is an entirely optional thing, although if you have it you get some kind of a tax bonus at tax return time (not sure quite how it works, never having had private health insurance). Here everyone is covered by Medicare, which makes most health care either free or subsidised.

    From what I've gathered, health insurance doesn't seem to be mandatory in the US either. Just going by what I've seen on TV, read in books or heard by word-of-mouth; it seems there are plenty of people in the US who can't afford health insurance, and therefore avoid seeking all kinds of medical treatment unless absolutely necessary.

    In the UK health insurance is definitely not mandatory. All my relatives live there, and not a single one has ever had private health insurance. In the UK they have the NHS, which works much like the Australian Medicare system.


    Agreed! Although I think there are some people who genuinely believe there is no affordable help available. At least this thread could help those people, and would mean that even the others could at least strike an excuse off their cop-out list.


    The GP is the gate-keeper here too. If you want to access the free services available through medicare you need to go through your GP. GP's can of course provide medication as well.
     
  11. HiddenLacey

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    In America we all have different insurance plans. Your coverage depends on who your provider is and what type of plan you have. I think my plan has 10 visits a year or something. I'm not 100% sure.
     
  12. D_Relentless Original

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    I agree with what Jason says,However, I feel that Mental Health issues are be coming more accepted and the stigma attached to this, seems to becoming less and more accepted. I work with this document and find it a good read for future support and development, that is, if these essential supports and services are not cut.

    New Horizons: a shared vision for mental health : Department of Health - Publications
     
  13. erratic

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    In Canada there's relatively good mental health coverage. It's still not enough, but comparatively it's world-class; however, mental health care always seems to take a back seat to physical health care. Even though the two are inherently intertwined. But I'm not getting on my soapbox.

    For help in Canada, there are Canadian Mental Health Association offices all over the place and mental health clinics in most towns - or withing short transit/driving distance.

    In Ontario all psychiatrists are covered by health care. Other professionals are not unless you see them in a government-funded clinic or in a hospital. Most hospitals have psych wards, and if you google your community and "mental health" you'll find agencies that can help you or refer you.
     
  14. HunglikeaDork

    HunglikeaDork Member

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    Not being insured seems to be a common problem here in America. Like me.

    Yet I still have been seeing a counselor fairly regularly but he's $70 a visit out of pocket, kind of rough when finances are lean. :-/
     
  15. ManlyBanisters

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    That's right because all mentally ill people are naturally going to be able to hold down a job that pays well enough to afford a decent health care plan. :rolleyes:

    Yes, I know a mental health issue does not automatically mean that you are a bum living on the street shouting at pigeons, many well paid white and blue collar workers have mental health issues too - but seriously, the idea that everybody should just toddle out and pony up for the insurance that covers an uptown shrink is fucking ridiculous.

    What? Where the hell are you getting that from? I've lived in 3 (so-called) first world countries and have a broadening knowledge of a 4th and not one of those 4 countries has made having health cover mandatory. Car insurance, yes, in all of them - but not health insurance. Sad state of affairs really, but there we are.


    What planet are you from?

    Can't be bothered? Do you have any expereince of any kind with mental health issues at all? Can't be bothered? That's like saying a haemophiliac 'can't be bothered' coagulating properly! Half the fucking battle with a mental health issue is fucking recognising you have one in the first place!
     
  16. D_Ezdras Dingledonger

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    Well yeah, where I lived in the States (Massachusetts) I was required to have a health insurance plan, just as I was when I lived in Belgium and also the Netherlands now. Countries like Germany, England and Australia have a nationwide healthcare system which takes care of the people, but either way, more and more countries are requiring that you are covered somehow, whether it's by their nationwide system or through a private policy.

    I was in therapy for years in the States and beforehand I made sure to check whether or not it was covered by my health insurance. In my case, about 90% of it was, provided I upped my plan. All I had on top was a small monthly co-payment. The same is true of where I live now.

    I don't find many mentally ill people capable of helping themselves. When times are hard we want someone else to listen to us, but also to help us with regards to what to do and where to go. Proactivity and taking initiative go out the window when you're not all there, mentally. That was certainly true for me, and so no, I couldn't be bothered to get the help I needed. I've read several posts by people on this forum who need counseling and made all kinds of excuses as to why they're not going, so that apathy towards taking action seems to be a fairly common thing.
     
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