Psychological Services during COVID-19

In response to the recent announcements by the government regarding lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, I now provide face-to-face as well as telehealth (telephone/videoconference) consultations, subject to further announcements.

Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible to attend psychological services under the Medicare Better Access (MBS) Scheme?

All Medicare cardholders, located in Australia, who have an eligible mental health condition and are referred on a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) by a GP or psychiatrist, can have access to the Medicare Better Access (MBS) services. Currently, the number of consultations remain ten per calendar year. For those who do not have a referral on a MHTP can attend the services on a private basis. Eligibility for reimbursements for these services will depend on the individual’s private health insurance cover.

How does Life in Perspective ensure the safety of face-to-face clients during COVID-19?

My goal is to keep providing psychological support to my valued clients while ensuring that safe practice standards are maintained. To ensure safe practice standards -

  • I request that nobody attend my rooms if they are experiencing any cold, flu or coronavirus symptoms (including a fever, sore throat, breathing difficulty, or a cough), or have been exposed to and are at risk of COVID-19 infection. In such case the appointment can either be rescheduled or a telehealth consultation can be arranged.
  • If I am unwell or am aware that I have been exposed to the virus in any way, I undertake to notify my clients ASAP to either reschedule the appointment or the arrange a telehealth consultation.
  • As a sole practitioner private practice, there is normally only one client attending the practice at a time, limiting crowding, unless the client is accompanied by a support person or if a couple would attend relationship counselling.
  • Social distancing measures will be applied as far as possible.
  • Hand sanitisers will be provided.
  • Furniture and all touch surfaces will be disinfected between consultations.

What are the benefits and limitations of Telehealth (telephone or videoconference) consultations?

Telehealth has been proven to be effective for the treatment of various mental health problems during COVID-19. It ensures ongoing provision of psychological support when clients are unable to attend the practice during this challenging time. However, in some cases, receiving psychological treatment via telehealth services may not be appropriate. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The privacy of any form of communication via the internet can potentially be vulnerable depending on the security of the technology used. To support the security of my clients’ personal information, I use a platform that is compliant with the Australian standards for online security including end-to-end encryption.

For more information please read "Psychological services via telehealth – information for consumers."

How to maintain self-care during COVID-19?

As a society we are currently experiencing various emotions including anxiety, depression, loss, grief, and uncertainty. Proper self-care and early intervention are key to prevent a downward spiral in our mental health. With the appropriate support post traumatic growth can be achieved, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Please find below some helpful tip sheets to assist with self-care.

Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Maintaining your mental health during social isolation
Loneliness and isolation in the time of COVID-19
Use of alcohol and other drugs in the COVID-19 environment
Coronavirus (COVID-19) anxiety and staying mentally healthy (for older adults).

Please take special care and help keep our society as safe as possible. 
Ansie Cloete (Owner)

Content up to date as on 18 May 2020