Treatment Types & Costs

 Commonly used treatments for mental health conditions
 Treatment costs
 Mental health care plans, recovery plans and the NDIS 
 Other treatment options
 Helpful links

Treatment plans should meet the unique situation and mental health issues of the individual person.

Talk to your mental health care providers about what treatments would best suit your needs.

Questions you may want to ask your treating professional about treatments

1. What are the treatments you are suggesting and what symptoms do you hope to treat with them?

2. Are there other treatments for this illness or condition?

3. How long will I have to undertake this treatment?

4. Is this treatment subsidised by Medicare or will the be a cost to me?

5. When and how will we review the progress of the treatment to see if it is effective?

6. Can you provide me written information about this treatment?

7. Are there possible unwanted or negative side effects of this treatment?

8. What if I refuse treatment?

9. What can I do to make the most of this treatment?

Commonly used treatments for mental health conditions

Psychological Medications Other types of treatments
Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy
Psychotherapy is used to treat a variety of mental health issues using a variety of techniques.
“According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, psychotherapy is "Treatment of emotional, behavioural, personality, and psychiatric disorders based primarily on verbal or nonverbal communication and interventions with the patient, in contrast to treatments using chemical and physical measures." Simply put, psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, rather than drugs.”
Psychotherapy concentrates on how the person’s thoughts and behaviours affect their lives. Treating people with psychotherapy requires the client to commit to a series of sessions. The amount of sessions differs from person to person and what type of conditions or issues are being addressed. Psychotherapy is usually offered to the individual in private sessions, however group therapy and family therapy may also be offered dependant on the situation.

Medications are a commonly used form of treatment for mental health issues, and are often used in conjunction with other treatments.

The use of all medications should be discussed with your doctor.  It is vital that you disclose any other medications, natural therapies or illicit substances that you may be taking to ensure your safety.  If you are concerned about side effects discuss it with your doctor.  If you have severe reactions, seek medical attention immediately.

Medicines Line 1300 789 978

Antidepressant medications
Antidepressants are used to treat various mental health conditions such as: depression, anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive-disorder, and eating disorders. They are often used in combination with psychological treatments.
There are many different types of antidepressants and it may take trying more than one, under the care of a physician, before you find one that works best for you. It often takes weeks before the individual feels the full benefit of the medication.

Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)
ECT is often used as a last resort when symptoms are persistent and other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful. ECT is performed in a hospital by people who are specifically trained to provide the treatment. The individual is given a general anaesthetic and a muscle relaxant before a carefully controlled electrical current is passed through the brain. People receiving this treatment usually have more than one session.
*Talk to your doctor about risks and side effects.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
CBT examines how an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours can form unhelpful patterns that negatively affect the person’s quality of life.
CBT often requires the client to participate in a series of sessions and may include tasks to be practiced outside of therapy sessions.
Antipsychotic medications
Antipsychotic medications are used to treat a variety of mental health conditions and are often used in combination with psychological treatments. They are able to help reduce or eliminate unwanted and disabling symptoms such as, confused thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and disassociation. It can take up to several months for the individual to feel the full benefits of the medication.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
TMS does not require a general anaesthetic. The sessions last for about 30 to 60 minutes as an electromagnetic coil is held against the forehead while short electromagnetic pulses are passed through the skull causing small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells. Generally the person only feels a slight tapping feeling on their head.
*Talk to your doctor about risks and side effects.

Dialectical behaviour therapy DBT
DBT is most commonly used to help people better manage their emotions and responses to those emotions.  DBT is most commonly used to treat people with borderline personality disorder, but can be used to treat other mental health issues.
DBT requires the individual to go through a series of sessions and to practice concepts outside of the therapy session.


Mood-stabilising medications
Mood-stabilising medications are most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. However they may be used for other reasons. They generally treat acute depression, acute mania, and prevent depression and mania.  It may take some time before the individual feel the full benefit of the medication.
Community support
Community support offers a range of treatments and mental health supports such as: talk therapy, support groups and peer support, psychosocial rehabilitation, social inclusion, provides information and training to help manage mental illness and work towards recovery, advocacy and material supports.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing EMDR
EMDR is often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma based disorders. EMDR uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements to reduce the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events. EMDR does not rely on any medications and should not cause any physical pain to the individual. EMDR may take several treatment sessions to work through the trauma.
Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications)
Benzodiazepines are generally used to treat anxiety disorders. They work quickly compared to antidepressant, however taken over a longer period of time the body will require larger and larger dosages to get the same effect and sometimes can cause rebound anxiety. It is often suggested that they medication be taken in conjunction with other therapies and for short periods of time due to concerns about possible side effects, dependency, sedation and memory impairment.

Alternative Treatments
There are a range of alternative treatments such as: hypnotherapy, acupuncture, self-help books, e-treatments (on-line treatment support), mindfulness and meditation, aromatherapy, spiritual/energy healing, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, colour therapy, homeopathy, use of certain vitamins and supplements, and exercise.
There are many more. Talk to your mental health providers if you are interested in alternative therapies.

Many people have had success with alternative therapies and they often work well in conjunction with more traditional therapies.

Many of these therapies may not be covered under Medicare or private insurance.  Make sure you ask about fees, length of treatments and qualifications.  Ensure that you speak to you primary health practitioner about any therapies you are considering trying to ensure that they do not have adverse effects with other medications you are taking or treatments you undergoing.

Helpful link


You can request a Consumer Medicine Information sheet or CMI from your doctor or chemist. A CMI will provide you with information about the medication you are being prescribed including possible side effects, things you must not do, things to be careful of while taking the medication and side effects that you might experience. As well as reactions you might have, in which you should notify your doctor or immediately seek emergency care.

With medication treatments is it usually advise that you do not suddenly stop taking your medication unless advised by your doctor.

Treatment Costs

The cost of treatment does not have to become a barrier to wellness. If you are suffering serious mental illness, you may be entitled to financial assistance. To find out if you are entitled to any financial support, please contact a Disability Support Worker at your local Centrelink, and talk to your health care providers, about your financial concerns.

Speak with your GP about bulk billing, contact Medicare, or your private health care insurance provider about rebates and coverage.


Mental health care plans, recovery plans and the NDIS

There are different types of mental health care plans. A mental health care plan through your general practitioner (GP) can help with the cost of seeing a psychologist by providing a Medicare rebate for a portion of the cost for a selected number of visits.

Information on Mental Health Care Plans through Medicare

A mental health care/recovery plan through a community based mental health organisation usually works with the client to determine what types of supports are needed, identify and work with the client’s strengths, and develop treatment, management, wellness and life goals.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Victoria 1800 800 110

Some mental health and social service organisations have self-referral programs and free of cost counselling and support. Contact the organisation to find out more.

Other options

  • Schools, Tafe institutions and Universities often offer counselling to students free of charge (you can enquire about a school counsellor or psychologist or a disability liaison officer)
  • Community Health Centres also have professionals that can assist with mental health care needs including counselling sessions, and support from a support worker, social worker or community mental health practitioner
  • Support groups are usually free
  • Most helplines are free
  • There are online mental health resources and many books that may also be helpful to assist people with management and recovery

Helpful links

Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria Inc.

The Better Health Channel

The Better Health Channel


Blue Pages


Counselling online

Depression Services



Medicines Line 1300 789 978

Mind Spot




My Dr.

My Virtual Medical Centre

National Institute of Mental Health NIMH


Sane Australia

Spectrum The Personality Disorder Service for Victoria (03) 8833 3050

This Way Up

Virtual Clinic