Advice on Accessing Appropriate Care for Mental Health and Addictions

A recent program on Four Corners highlighted the dangers of accessing care from services that aren’t accredited and aren’t supported by government health services or private health funds.

Families featured in the show were gripped by crises. Members of their families were sadly struggling with devastating addictions to ice and other drugs.

Addiction and mental health concerns can tear apart families and relationships and can place huge pressure on the family unit as well as the individual who is suffering.

If you or your family are in the midst of this crisis and need to reach out and get support, there are some really important steps that you need to know about before you take that first step. It was devastating to see families portrayed in the grip of addiction that had to re-mortgage a property to access services that were unfortunately unable to deliver good clinical outcomes.

If this situation is something you are currently facing, please read our recommendations below to ensure that you connect with an accredited service supported by a multi-disciplinary team of experts skilled in the treatment of addictions and recognised by a regulatory body.

  • If you are looking for a hospital that can support you or a family member in crisis you can start by searching on Google. A number of options will be listed and it’s important to determine whether they are appropriate and suitable for you or a loved one.
  • Look on the website of a chosen service and search for whether they are licensed by the Department of Health (for the relevant state). Look on the website of a chosen service and search for what standards they are accredited for. Legislation and compliance varies from state to state and across the health and community sectors.  Search for the terms “compliance”, “standards” or “accreditation” if you can’t see reference to this information on the homepage.
  • Find out whether the service is supported by the major health funds. Major health funds contract to accredited services to provide support for mental health and addiction. This means that consumers can access treatment through their personal private health fund cover without the requirement to pay ‘out of pocket’.
  • Whether you believe that the service is accredited or not – we recommend you still call the service and ask them if that is the case (it is especially important to ask if you could not find this information on the website).
  • Once you have begun the enquiry process – its also important to find out whether you might be able to access cover from your health fund to access services. If you have psychiatric cover as part of your private health fund then it’s possible that your treatment will be covered.
  • Services with accreditation and health fund support are able to conduct a health fund check in the moment and can advise you immediately of the cost of treatment. This means that you will have an accurate number for the cost of treatment that won’t waver and, asides from any incidentals during treatment; you won’t be hit with any surprise bills down the line.
  • If you aren’t sure whether you are covered with your health fund and can’t remember the details of the policy – simply call your health fund and check. This way you can be certain.
    Ask the tough questions in the call to the service and find out costs, timelines, waiting periods upfront so that you can make a qualified and informed decision.

Remember – services that are fully accredited and licensed can offer treatment for mental health and addiction concerns that are affordable and not crippling for families in crisis. We are lucky enough in Australia to be supported when we are in crisis and services exist in all states to support you and your family in their time of need. Please find the list here of all major health funds South Pacific Private is supported by. If a fund is not on the list please call us for more information.

Our services are accessible for enquiries 24/7. You can reach out to us on 1800 063 332.