Health professionals: who to contact

Seeking out professional help early can make all the difference.

As a small business owner, your wellbeing and mental health must be a priority. Sometimes, managing life and work as a business owner can be challenging.

Different types of professionals offer different types of help and support – knowing what you need can be an important first step. If you are unsure, speaking with your GP is a good place to start.

General practitioner

A General practitioner (GP) will often be the first point of contact for any issue relating to your personal health. Your GP can talk to you about the range of things that could be impacting on your health and wellbeing, discuss available treatments, make referrals to specialists and other services if that is needed, prescribe medications and develop a mental health treatment plan with you.

If you have a mental health plan, you can receive medicare rebates for up to 10 individual appointments or 10 group appointments with allied mental health services (psychologists, counsellors, social workers, occupational therapists) in a year.

Healthdirect can assist locate a GP in your area.

Other health professionals who can help include:


A specialist in how people behave, think, feel and learn and use evidence-based strategies, including talk therapies, to assist people overcome challenges.

A clinical psychologist can help assess, diagnose and treat mental health problems, as well as assist in preventing mental ill-health.

The Australian Psychological Society can help you find a clinical psychologist near you.

The cost: Medicare will cover part or all of your psychologist's fee if your GP makes the referral and completes a Mental Health Treatment Plan with you. You can make an appointment to see a psychologist directly, however costs generally start at $100 a session without a GP referral.


A psychiatrist is a doctor who has undergone further training to specialise in treating mental illness. They use a range of therapies, including medications and talking therapies. You can access a psychiatrist with a referral from a GP or through a hospital.

The cost: With a GP referral, some of the costs of the session will be subsidised through Medicare.

Clinical Social Workers:

Clinical social workers who specialise in mental health can assess and treat mental health problems using a variety of evidence-based therapeutic strategies. These can include individual and group therapy, as well as connecting you with community based services to improve your quality of life.

The Australian Association of Social Workers can help you find a social worker near you.

The cost: They can be accessed via a referral from a GP, or through a hospital or community service and the cost of the service may be covered under Medicare or private health insurance.

Occupational Therapists:

Occupational therapists are used to provide individual and group programs and activities to enhance participation in the occupations of everyday life – looking after oneself, working, and engaging in leisure and social activities.

For example, they can help you to develop skills to deal with stress and emotions more easily, or develop strategies that enable you to stay at work or return to work following a period of mental ill-health.

The cost: They can be accessed via a referral from a GP, or through a hospital or community service and may be covered under Medicare or private health insurance.

Mental Health Nurse:

Mental health nursing is a specialised branch of nursing with a focus on the care of people with mental ill-health. They typically assist people to manage their medications, understand and manage symptoms as well as what may exacerbate a mental health condition. They also provide counselling and organise practical supports. Mental Health Nurses are usually found in hospitals or via community health services.

The cost: A GP or Psychiatrist can also write a referral for you to see a mental health nurse directly. Some Mental Health Nurses who operate privately, their intake requirements and fee schedules will vary between clinicians.


Counsellors offer talking therapies that can assist you to work through specific issues such as a relationship problems, loneliness or financial difficulties. They help you explore options and develop strategies for overcoming these challenges. It is important to note that not all counsellors have specific training in treating mental health problems.

The Australian Counselling Association can help you find a registered counsellor near you.

The cost: Rates vary, however costs are generally a fixed rate per session without a GP referral.

General Australian mental health and wellbeing organisations

Blackdog Institute

The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit organisation and research institute dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by poor mental health.

Heads Up

Resources and information about mental health in Australian workplaces. In particular, look for the section for small business owners.


Information, support and connection for every Australian affected by complex mental illness through its website, peer-to-peer forums and helpline. SANE also has a range of fact sheets on managing mental health in the workplace.

Phone: 1800 187 263


beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve the best possible mental health, whatever your age and wherever you live.

Phone: 1300 224 636

Life in Mind

Life in Mind is a national initiative that connects Australian suicide prevention services and programs to each other and the community. It includes the latest information, activities, resources and research.

Phone: 02 4924 6900

Mental Health Commission of New South Wales

The Mental Health Commission of NSW is an independent statutory agency and works to secure better mental health and wellbeing for everyone, to prevent mental illness and to ensure the availability of appropriate supports in or close to home when people are unwell or at risk of becoming unwell.

Specific mental health and wellbeing organisations

Mates in Construction

An industry specific mental health service provider that supports businesses in the construction sector.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP)

RAMHP is a major project of the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH). RAMHP has 14 Coordinators based across regional, rural and remote NSW who inform, educate and connect individuals, communities and workplaces with appropriate Mental Health services and programs.

National Centre for Farmer Health

A wide variety of health, wellbeing and safety information, including a ‘support page’ for farmers experiencing tough times.

Transcultural Mental Health Centre

A state-wide service that promotes access to mental health services for people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, provides clinical consultation and assessment, mental health promotion, develops resources and provides education and training.

The Ripple Effect

A resource for rural communities that addresses suicide in rural areas.


Telephone, online chat support service and resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI).

Phone: 1800 184 527

Did you find this helpful?

Set your own goals.
Track your stress levels.
Get ahead for business.

Ahead for Business