What do I need to know about my telehealth sessions?

  • Your telehealth session are claimable under Medicare from March 30th, 2020.
  • If you are a current client for over 6 months you can receive a medicare rebate for telecounselling with your MHTP.
  • New clients need a referral that states the need for telecounselling by the GP.
  • Workcover, TAC, VOCAT all support telecounselling at this time.
  • We recommend you consult with your therapist on what telecommunication server they are using,  in preparation for your telecounselling session. 
  • Please call us and we can help you through this process.

We are sure you have been following the media coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak. We do believe that as a community it is imperative that we work together to slow COVID-19 down, and the best way to do this is through good hygiene and sensible precautions. As community transmission has appeared to have begun in Victoria we are entering a time of purposeful social distancing, even for people without symptoms or contact.

We would like to reassure you that we can continue to have sessions and ensure that you receive the support you need. We also want you to feel empowered, in the face of multiple, and at times conflicting messages, to choose to access sessions in a way in which you feel comfortable. If you, or someone close to you, is in a group that is vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, or you are already making a personal choice to practice social distancing, ahead of government mandates, then please let us know, and we can conduct our sessions via Telehealth. Medicare rebates for telehealth are now available if you have a MHTP. If you are under 16 and classified as vulnerable, should you choose to have your session remotely, and in light of the economic impact for many the telehealth and phone sessions under 50 minutes will be bulk billed. We believe it is important that we all make adjustments and help each other at this time.

If you have any cold or flu symptoms, or had close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have travelled into Australia from overseas in the last 14 days, please stay home rather than attend in person. For further information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, please see https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 or call 1800 020 080 for more information on Coronavirus. Please click on the page for Corona Virus Advice for tips on anxiety. Please contact reception at your earliest availability to let them know if you would like to meet via telecounselling.

Stay well and healthy and remember this will pass and the world will reset.

From APS Website

Coronavirus: psychologists offer advice for maintaining positive mental health

Coronavirus: psychologists offer advice for maintaining positive mental health

The APS has released advice about how to manage your mental health, following the World Health Organization’s declaration of coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, psychologists have sought to reassure the public by providing advice to help prevent people from becoming overwhelmed. ASP President Ros Knight said it is reasonable and understandable that people are concerned, but panicking is not a helpful way to respond.

“As humans, we are hardwired to be afraid of the unknown and of something that appears random and uncontrollable. If you find yourself becoming anxious about coronavirus, try to remember that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected.”

“Exposing yourself to a constant stream of negative information takes a huge psychological toll. Avoid reading social media posts that warn of an apocalypse and don’t get drawn into doomsday discussions. Sticking to the facts and relying on scientific sources for your information is the best way to maintain perspective and manage your feelings positively.”

“Remain calm and practical and continue with your usual regime, as much as you can. Observe good hygiene habits, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with people who are unwell, and, it makes you feel better, wear an appropriate mask in public.”

Ms Knight added that parents and caregivers need to be aware that the situation might be having an effect on children.

“We know that children absorb information from the news, social media, and discussions adults have around them. Some children have been excluded from school. Parents and caregivers may need to carefully explain to their children why they can’t go to school or why one of their friends is not there.”

“Research shows that being open and honest with children is the best way to help them cope with serious situations.

“Sharing the news will help children to not feel excluded, imagine the situation is worse than it really is or, even, blame themselves. Sharing information shows that you trust and value them, which can enhance their resilience.

“Try not to overload children with too many details. Give small amounts of information, wait and then ask if they have any questions,” she said.

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that if you become unwell and suspect you may have symptoms of coronavirus, you must seek medical attention. Please ring ahead of time to book an appointment with a GP, to help make them aware of your symptoms and your travel history. Call 000 if you need urgent medical help.

Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety.

As the number of coronavirus cases rise across Australia, the level of anxiety within the community is increasing. Feelings of worry and unease can be
expected following a stressful event, such as the recent declaration of a global pandemic, however, it is important that we learn to manage our stress before it turns to more severe anxiety and panic. This information sheet outlines some useful strategies which can help both adults and children cope with the stress or anxiety experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Learn the facts.

Constant media coverage about the coronavirus can keep us in a heightened state of anxiety. Try to limit related media exposure and instead seek out factual information from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert or other trusted organisations such as the World Health Organization.

Keep things in perspective

When we are stressed, it is easy to see things as worse than they really are. Rather than imagining the worst-case scenario and
worrying about it, ask yourself:
• Am I getting ahead of myself, assuming something bad will happen when I really don’t know the outcome? Remind yourself
that the actual number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia is extremely low.
• Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Remember, illness due to coronavirus infection is usually
mild and most people recover without needing specialised treatment.
• Am I underestimating my ability to cope? Sometimes thinking about how you would cope, even if the worst were to happen,
can help you put things into perspective.

Take reasonable precautions

Being proactive by following basic hygiene principles can keep your anxiety at bay. The World Health Organization recommends a number of protective measures against the coronavirus, including to:
• wash your hands frequently
• avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• stay at home if you begin to feel unwell until you fully recover
• seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or experience breathing difficulties.

Practise self-care

To help encourage a positive frame of mind, it is important to look after yourself. Everybody practises self-care differently with some examples including:
• maintaining good social connections and communicating openly with family and friends
• making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy
• keeping up a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting quality sleep and avoiding the use
of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to cope with stress
• practising relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and readjust to a calm state.

Tips for talking with children about the coronavirus.

Children will inevitably pick up on the concerns and anxiety of others, whether this be through listening and observing what
is happening at home or at school. It is important that they can speak to you about their own concerns.

Answer their questions

Do not be afraid to talk about the coronavirus with children. Given the extensive media coverage and the increasing number of people wearing face masks in public, it is not surprising that some children are already aware of the virus. Providing opportunities to answer their questions in an honest and age-appropriate way can help reduce any anxiety they may be
experiencing. You can do this by:
• speaking to them about coronavirus in a calm manner
• asking them what they already know about the virus so you can clarify any misunderstandings they may have
• letting them know that it is normal to experience some anxiety when new and stressful situations arise
• giving them a sense of control by explaining what they can do to stay safe (e.g., wash their hands regularly, stay away from
people who are coughing or sneezing)
• not overwhelming them with unnecessary information (e.g., death rates) as this can increase their anxiety
• reassure them that coronavirus is less common and severe in children compared to adults
• allowing regular contact (e.g., by phone) with people they may worry about, such as grandparents, to reassure them that they
are okay.

Talk about how they are feeling

Explain to your child that it is normal to feel worried about getting sick. Listen to your child’s concerns and reassure them that you are there to help them with whatever may arise in the future. It is important to model calmness when discussing the
coronavirus with children and not alarm them with any concerns you may have about it. Children will look to you for cues on how to manage their own worries so it is important to stay calm and manage your own anxieties before bringing up the subject with them and answering their questions.

Limit media exposure

It is important to monitor children’s exposure to media reports about the coronavirus as frequent exposure can increase their
level of fear and anxiety. Try to be with your child when they are watching, listening or reading the news so you are able to address any questions or concerns they may have.

More information

Australian Government Department of Health – The Department of Health has developed a collection of resources
for the general public, health professionals and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19), including translated resources.
https://bit.ly/38OOwHe
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides reliable
information about the coronavirus such as its symptoms, steps you can take to protect yourself, and what to do if you are
affected. https://bit.ly/39MEmI8
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization provides information and guidance regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease.
https://bit.ly/3cQUwCw

Seek additional support when needed

If you feel that the stress or anxiety you or your child experience as a result of the coronavirus is impacting on
everyday life, a psychologist may be able to help. Psychologists are highly trained and qualified professionals,
skilled in providing effective interventions for a range of mental health concerns, including stress. A psychologist can
help you manage your stress and anxiety using techniques based on the best available research. If you are referred to a psychologist by your GP, you might be eligible for a Medicare rebate. You may also be eligible to receive psychology services via telehealth so that you do not need to travel to see a psychologist. Ask your psychologist or GP for details.