Budget-Friendly Mental Health Strategies

Budget-Friendly Mental Health Strategies

Prioritised mental health is important for overall well-being, yet the cost of mental health treatment in Australia can create financial stress for individuals seeking support. In this article, we will discuss the importance of seeking mental health treatment, available safe options, and strategies for managing your mental health services budget. By adopting these approaches, you can focus on stabilising your mental health without compromising your financial stability.

Support from the Australian Government

The Australian government is continuously factoring mental health treatment services in the national budget. The 2023-2024 Federal Budget, in particular, has some noteworthy items:

  • $260.2m over two years in Commonwealth funding starting Fiscal Year 2024 for psychosocial support of 18,000 people diagnosed with severe mental illness but not enrolled in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
  • $732.9m over four years to help the National Disability Insurance Agency, among others, improve its operational systems and quality of service, and improve quality and compliance of payments. 
  • $17.8m over five years to improve mental health treatment skill sets of medical workers, including increased mental health education for midwifery, nursing, and AHSE undergraduate courses.
  • $14.4 million allocated over a two-year period to sustain intervention services for individuals affected by the loss of loved ones to suicide.

In addition, Mental Health Australia prepared a submission for deliberations into the 2024-2025 Federal Budget. The organisation praised good efforts in 2023 to improve mental healthcare such as continued development of Head to Health Centres and Kids Hubs, and to advance education development for mental healthcare workers. However, they expressed hope that the government will do more by implementing results of the Better Access evaluation and NDIS Review, a full enactment of the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy, and fixing the National Health Reform Agreement to include mental health support.

The Importance of Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Recognising the Need

Mental health issues are common and can affect anyone. Recognise the signs and symptoms that indicate the need for professional help, such as persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or changes in behaviour. Seeking treatment is an important step towards recovery and well-being.

Accessing Professional Help

In Australia, there are various avenues to access mental health treatment. Start by consulting your general practitioner (GP) who can refer you to a mental health professional. Alternatively, you can reach out to helplines, community mental health centres, or private practitioners directly. Many mental health support companies offer phone, text, or video chat options 24/7.

In Australia, digital mental health support services include Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14 (landline) and 0477 13 11 14 (cellphone), Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636, and the Blue Knot Foundation at 1300 657 380.  

Safe Options

It’s important to ensure that the mental health services you choose are safe, reputable, and regulated. Look for professionals who are registered with organisations such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or are members of recognised mental health associations.

Managing Your Mental Health Services Budget

Accessing treatments for your mental health can be challenging, particularly if you’ve been advised to undergo long-term counselling. The following are how to ensure your finances are kept under control.

Research and Compare

Before committing to a mental health professional or treatment plan, research different options and compare their costs. Consider both public and private services, as public services may have lower costs or be covered by Medicare.

Medicare Benefits

In Australia, Medicare provides rebates for certain mental health services through the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for eligible individuals. Discuss this with your GP or mental health professional to determine if you qualify for Medicare benefits.

Seek Bulk-Billing Options

Some mental health professionals offer bulk-billing, which means they accept the Medicare rebate as full payment, eliminating the need for out-of-pocket expenses. Inquire about bulk-billing options when searching for mental health services.

Government Subsidies and Programmes

Explore government subsidies and programmes that may assist with the cost of mental health treatment. For example, the NDIS provides support for individuals with a disability, including mental health conditions. Research eligibility criteria and application processes for these programmes.

Nonprofit and Community Organisations

Look for nonprofit and community organisations that offer free or low-cost mental health services. These organisations often operate on a sliding scale based on income, ensuring accessibility for individuals with limited financial resources.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

If you are employed, check if your workplace offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which can offer confidential counselling for employees. Take advantage of this benefit to access mental health support at no additional cost.

Payment Plans and Negotiation

Speak with mental health professionals about payment plans or flexible arrangements. They may be willing to negotiate fees or offer instalment options based on your financial situation. Openly discussing your budgetary concerns can lead to mutually beneficial solutions.

Supplementary Support

In addition to professional help, consider supplementing your mental health treatment with self-help resources. Books, online courses, support groups, or mobile app can provide additional support at a lower cost or even for free.

Self-Care and Preventive Measures

Prioritise Self-Care

Incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine to support your mental well-being. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, mindfulness, and stress reduction. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep also play vital roles in maintaining good mental health.

Community and Peer Support

Seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Sharing experiences and learning from others can be invaluable in managing mental health. Online communities and forums can also provide a sense of belonging and support.

Early Intervention

Address mental health concerns as early as possible. By seeking treatment in the early stages, you may prevent conditions from worsening and requiring more intensive or expensive interventions later on.

Regular Review of Treatment Plan

Periodically review your treatment plan with your mental health professional. Discuss any changes in your financial situation or insurance coverage to ensure the most cost-effective approach to your treatment.


Putting a premium on mental health is essential, even when facing financial constraints. By accepting the need for mental health treatment, accessing safe options, and implementing strategies to manage your mental health services budget, you can maintain your well-being and still keep your finances in check.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial  or medical advice. 2 Ezi has no working relationships with any Australian mental health treatment vendor. Please consult your GP and mental health treatment practitioner immediately. 
Call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14 (landline) and 0477 13 11 14 (cellphone), Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636, and the Blue Knot Foundation at 1300 657 380.

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