Anxiety & Depression: How A Mental Health Professional Can Help
From time to time, most adults feel stressed, worried or sad. However, when these feelings last for long periods of time, such as days, weeks or months, it’s likely that you are experiencing anxiety or depression. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety. Understanding the signs of these conditions and gaining help from a psychologist, counsellor or other mental health professional can help you get things back on track.
Before seeing a mental health professional – ask your GP about anxiety and depression
You may find it difficult to recognise the early signs of anxiety or depression, and they can present differently in different people. Common early signs can include one or more of the following:
- Feeling a bit worried or flat
- Feeling like you’re in a constant state of upset
- You’ve lost interest in work, sports or activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling deeply stressed or agitated most of the time.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you can check in with your GP. Most Australian GPs are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can make a diagnosis of your condition and also check for any physical health problems or medications that may be making your symptoms worse.
From here, your GP can provide you with information about anxiety and depression, talk to you about your preferences for available treatment, and they can also help you draw up a mental health treatment plan. The treatment plan will help your GP gather important information about how you are feeling, and will help you get a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment should you choose that path.
Your GP can provide brief counselling support, refer you for further treatment with a mental health professional, prescribe medication and schedule regular appointments to monitor your progress as well.
Seeing a mental health professional about anxiety and depression
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We are currently experiencing a pandemic, and consequences of disease outbreaks include anxiety, panic, depression, anger, confusion, uncertainty and financial stress. Estimates of 25% to 33% of the community have experienced high levels of worry and anxiety during similar pandemics1. Mental health professionals are aware of the increasing levels of anxiety and depression caused by COVID-19 around the world, and the importance of managing it.
If you have seen a mental health professional in the past, or would like to see a mental health professional to help better understand and manage your feelings of anxiety or depression, book an appointment with a psychologist, counsellor or other mental health professional.
As mentioned earlier, mental health professionals such as psychologists and counsellors may provide services that are eligible for a Medicare rebate, with a mental health treatment plan. Some practitioners may also provide services that are completely bulk-billed.
During these times of COVID-19, there are telehealth options to see a mental health professional if you would like to stay in the comfort of your home.
- Health.gov.au – Better access to mental health care: fact sheet for patients
- Health.gov.au – GP mental health treatment plan
- Healthdirect.gov.au – Mental health care plan
- Bults, M., et al., Perceptions and behavioral responses of the general public during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic: a systematic review. Disaster Med Public Health Prep, 2015. 9(2): p. 207-19.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.
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