How to access mental health support

Speaking with a doctor

Speaking with your doctor can be a good starting point. Your doctor may be able to rule out whether an underlying physical health condition could be contributing to your experience, offer advice about medication, and provide referrals. However, you don't have to speak to a doctor to access mental health support. 

Seeing a psychologist

Psychologists are registered health professionals. Psychologists use evidence-informed strategies to help people cope with and recover from a range of difficulties (such as emotional, work, stress, mental health issues, relationship, addiction, and other issues). If you are referred to a psychologist through your GP, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate. 

To access a psychologist:

  • Ask your GP or another health professional to refer you;
  • Locate a psychologist using the Australian Psychological Society’s online directory Find a Psychologist TM.

NSW solicitors can also access psychological support via the Solicitor Outreach Service (SOS). NSW solicitors do not require a medical referral to access SOS.

Employee Assistance Programs

Another option is to check if you have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through your place of work. EAPs offer confidential, short-term counselling for employees. In many instances, immediate family members of employees can also access these services. 

Other support services

Online mental health resources and treatment programs

There are also several online services and treatment programs which can help you to understand and cope with what is going on for you. Many online mental health treatment programs are offered either free of charge, or at reduced cost.

The following programs are provided by reputable organisations and are completely independent of the Law Society of NSW. 

  • myCompass – Free, personalised mental health strategies to help you manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours that cause you concern.
  • Black Dog Institute Online Clinic – Free, mental health assessment tool and personalised report with suggested support services/resources for you to access.
  • This Way Up – Online treatment programs, education and research to help improve mental health, wellbeing and physical health difficulties.
  • MindSpot – Free, online assessment and treatment for people experiencing stress, worry, anxiety, low mood and depression.
  • moodgym – Free, online self-help program designed to help users prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Beyond Blue New Access – Free mental health coaching program to help people cope if feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed about everyday life issues (such as work, study, relationships, health or loneliness).

Want more information?

Head to Health – Head to Health is an Australian Department of Health initiative with a focus on bringing together information about digital mental health services and resources from respected Australian mental health organisations. 

Miriam Wyzenbeek is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and the Law Society of NSW’s Wellbeing Manager.

First published Wednesday 1 September 2021