Psychologists work across a variety of settings such as in
private practice or in schools, prisons and remand centres,
hospitals and in research centres.
To initially access a psychologist an individual will usually
have to obtain a referral from a GP or a pediatrician (child) or
psychiatrist. As part of an individual's Mental Health Care Plan, a
psychologist and GP will work together to provide support, manage
medication (if required) and carry out psychological intervention.
Therefore, it's important that all parties involved are working
together closely and that they have an understanding of working
with young people.
It is important to obtain some background on the psychologist
that the young person has been referred to, and often this can be
done by talking with the referring GP.
The barriers for a young person in accessing psychological help are
the same as those faced accessing a GP. The cost and the
accessibility are of great concern but perhaps the stigma is
greater when accessing a psychologist than a GP. It is important
that all parties involved in working with the young person are
conscious of the impact that stigma has on the ability of the young
person to access help.
Some psychological services are part of a larger program that a
young person may access for free, such as headspace.
Private health care insurance will often cover part of session
costs, dependent on the fund and policy, so it could be beneficial
to explore this avenue as an option also.
Other psychologists work under a Medicare scheme to assist with
costs which means that the sessions may be free or that only the
gap between the rebate and the session cost has to be paid. If the
young person is financially in no position to pay for the session,
the gap between the session cost and the rebate can often be
All psychology Medicare services are limited to a maximum of 12
individual sessions per client per calendar year, with a review by
the referring GP after the initial six sessions have been
completed. In addition, if appropriate, an individual may also be
eligible for 12 psychological group sessions services in a calendar
For more information and to find a psychologist in your area,
please refer to the Australian
Psychological Society site or the website of the Department of Health and