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6 ways to get help for mental health – and you won’t have to pay a thing!

Keep on top of your mental health with these free programs

A young woman resting her face on her palm as she stares out a window
A young woman resting her face on her palm as she stares out a window

Are you suffering with your mental health and unsure where or who to turn to? Rest assured; you’re not alone.

In Australia, it’s estimated 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, with three million Aussies currently living with depression or anxiety.

To coincide with Mental Health Month, we asked nib mental health nurse Jo Baja to put together a list of six resources that can help. The best part is they’re free and only a website, app or phone call away. So, if and when you need help, you can access a mental health program at a time and place that suits you best.

1. Experiencing high levels of stress due to work, study or relationships?

This Way Up online mental health programs have been clinically proven to help with a range of mental health issues. Jo recommends the evidence-based Coping with Stress course, which helps with learning how to manage stress more effectively.

“Everyone experiences stress from time to time, and we all cope with it in different ways,” Jo says.

“From shifting unhelpful behaviours to problem-solving and assertive communication, this course will better equip you with the tools to understand and actively cope with stress.”

2. Unsure if you’re living with anxiety or depression?

The MindSpot Clinic is a free online and telephone service for Australian adults who might be suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression. MindSpot provide a quick online screening assessment that will help you learn about any symptoms you might be experiencing and guide you on the best next steps to take.

“The MindSpot Clinic treatment courses have been researched and developed by Macquarie University and have helped thousands of people from all around Australia,” says Jo.

“If required, a MindSpot therapist can also assist you with finding a local service provider in your area who can help.”

Credit: nib health insurance

3. Looking to improve your overall mental wellbeing?

If you’re looking to tackle unhelpful ways of thinking or simply just increase your happiness, myCompass is a great place to start.
The myCompass platform enables you to learn new ways of dealing with your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The program can help with managing work and stress, improving mental health wellbeing and recognising depression and anxiety symptoms.

With 14 interactivities tailored to different age groups, you’ll learn skills and strategies to make positive changes in all aspects of your life.

4. Feeling disconnected?

How often do you have to ask someone to repeat themselves because they were talking but you weren’t really listening? Have you ever driven home from work and realised you can’t remember making that right-hand turn? We’ve all been there!

If you’re going through parts of your day on autopilot, then nib foundation partner Smiling Mind could be for you. Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organisation with an easy-to-use mindfulness app that has already reached two million people across the globe. Not only is the app free to use, but it's also Australia’s first mindfulness-based meditation app which caters to the language and culture of Indigenous Australians.

“Some of the benefits of mindfulness include creating a sense of calm, enhancing awareness and enjoying better-quality sleep,” says Jo.

5. Been diagnosed with anxiety or depression?

Living with anxiety or depression isn’t easy, but there is support available. SilverCloud is a digital mental health solution designed to support and promote positive behaviour change. It provides access to a comprehensive range of tools and personalised content that empowers you to take proactive steps to manage and anxiety depression. nib members receive free access to SilverCloud  via the nib App.

6. Unsure where to start?

Everyone is different and while these top tips will hopefully help, it may be that you require different support than what these resources are able to provide. If you have concerns about your mental health, or if you’ve noticed changes in the way you’re thinking or feeling, the best thing you can do is speak to your GP to get personalised advice.

After an initial assessment, your GP can provide you with a referral to see a psychologist for up to six Medicare rebatable sessions. Once those six sessions are up, you can head back to your GP to ask for a referral for more rebatable sessions, with a maximum of 10 each calendar year.

Please note: You don't need a referral from a GP to see a psychologist, however, you'll need a Mental Health Treatment Plan from a GP to claim rebates through Medicare. People who are diagnosed with a mental health condition and who would benefit from a structured treatment approach are eligible for these benefits.

If you or someone you know needs help please call:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14

  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800