Mental health care

Focused Psychological Strategies

Mental health conditions are very common and can affect anyone at any time of their life. Sometimes certain events can trigger depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Other times mental health conditions can occur for no reason or with no warning.

Mental health is a very complex area and there isn’t one solution that fits everyone. Early treatment makes a difference and can stop symptoms from becoming worse. Treatment doesn’t need to involve medication. Psychology can be helpful, or your GP may be able to suggest strategies that you can implement with their support.Everyone’s mental health benefits from regular physical activity, healthy eating and adequate sleep.

Focused Psychological Strategies (FPS) are evidence based psychological therapies which can form part of a treatment plan for patients experiencing mental health concerns. 

Accessible under a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP), the sessions run as either a 30 or 45 minute appointment with a GP who has undertaken additional training in this field.  Within these sessions your GP will explore your priorities and goals to help improve your mental health, then work with you to develop strategies to achieve these goals.  Strategies and techniques may include developing relaxation and grounding strategies, cognitive restructuring, and problem solving techniques.

You can have more FPS consultations with your GP then available under Mental Health Care Plans, however, a lower rebate will apply.  This option can be useful if you need ongoing support or have complex mental health needs.  

Please ensure you have registered all family members for the Extended Medicare Safety Net, as once this applies your out of pocket costs will be significantly reduced.

Under a Mental Health Care Plan the fee structure for these sessions is as follows:



Total cost

Medicare rebate

Gap (out of pocket)

30 minute FPS




50 minute FPS




Antenatal and postnatal depression

Problems with mental health are very common and can affect anyone at any time of their life.  Pregnancy and a new baby can be a particularly vulnerable time for both new parents.  This is because of the significant changes that a new baby has on relationships, as well as a lack of sleep for everyone.

If you have a history of anxiety or depression, you may be more at-risk.  Your GP can do a lot to support you and help create a plan to reduce your risk of anxiety or depression reoccuring.    

First time parents can find the transition from full time employment to full time parenting very isolating, particularly if they don’t know anyone with similar aged children.  Forming social connections with other parents is important for support and stimulation.  Local playgroups and parent’s groups can be one option.  

Most people with mental health problems don’t need medication, but if you do there are options that are safe when you are pregnant and breastfeeding.  Your GP can discuss your story and symptoms and make a plan on the best treatment approach for you.  It is also important that your GP excludes any underlying medical problems that may be causing your mental health problem.

Referrals to psychologists with special interests in the perinatal time can also be arranged.  

If you have concerns about your mental health we encourage you to book in with your GP.  

If you need emergency assistance please call the Acute Crisis Intervention Service on 13 14 65

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Anxiety can affect both children and adolescents and cause mood changes as well as tummy pain, headaches or tiredness.  Anxiety is a normal feeling, but sometimes it can become persistent and stop children and adolescents from participating in activities.  

Worrying and anxiety becomes more common in children over 8, as they are able to see a future and so can guess at what may or may not happen.  Worrying relates to something that has happened or might happen.  The type of worries will change at different ages.

Depression in teenagers is a serious condition and needs prompt treatment to reduce the long-term impact.  It presents as low mood, sadness, anger, lack of enjoyment or tearfulness that lasts for two weeks or more.  Other signs include poor concentration, forgetfulness, feelings of worthlessness, withdrawal from friends and family or thoughts of suicide.  Changes in behaviour at school and home can signal a significant underlying mental health problem.   It is important to talk with your pre-teen, adolescent and GP as soon as possible.  

Early intervention makes a big difference and often focusses on building on the child’s strengths, while providing strategies to help them manage anxiety or depression.  Please talk with your GP if you are worried about your child or adolescent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mental health conditions can commonly present as difficulty falling asleep or waking overnight between 1-5am. Anxiety can cause people to worry when they get into bed which may stop them from falling asleep or make it hard to go back to sleep when they wake. Depression will characteristically cause people to wake overnight for no apparent reason and then have difficulty falling asleep.
Drinking alcohol impairs the quality of your sleep and it is best to avoid this in the evening. Watching TV or using screens before bedtime can affect the quality of sleep. Naps during the day will also impair your sleep. It is important to have a regular routine to help you fall asleep and get up at the same time every day.
A sleep diary can be a useful way to assess what is happening with your sleep.

Low motivation can be a symptom of depression but can create a vicious cycle. You may not feel like doing certain activities and so don’t do them. Then you may feel worse about yourself, or your mood may become lower which worsens the motivation and depression further.
One of the treatments for depression is called behavioural activation. This focusses on getting you to do activities that you would normally enjoy (even if you don’t feel like it). This usually leads to an improved mood, better motivation and less depressive symptoms. In the same way that less activity can cause a downward spiral, more activity helps you go back up.

If your symptoms of low motivation continue for more then 2 weeks it is important to talk with your GP for a full assessment.

You can contact Pear Tree Family Practice and ask for an urgent appointment. If the practice is not open please contact the Acute Crisis Intervention Service on 13 14 65. This is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Urgent Mental Health Care Centre is located at 215 Grenfell Street, Adelaide and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted on 8448 9100.

It is important to normalise that sometimes we will feel anxious and that it is important to talk kindly to ourselves when this is happening.

Encourage your child to try tasks and activities which make them anxious, but allow them to make the decision.

Let your child take risks and don’t assist until they are feeling anxious.

Provide encouragement if you child tries or does something they feel anxious about. 

Do not criticise them or label that as “anxious”

Encourage Brave Behaviour and attempting activities or situations that make them feel anxious.

Encourage them to talk positively to themselves when they are feeling anxious

Encourage them to ask for support if they need help with a project or situation

Encourage them to engage in physical and social activity rather than being alone at home worrying

Spent time with your pre-teen and teenager and incorporate activities they find relaxing eg reading, listening to music, craft

Educate them about the impact of alcohol, caffeine and drugs on their anxiety and mood

Avoiding completing tasks at the last minute, so that there is not additional pressure

Encourage healthy food choices.  Have a variety of healthy foods in the fridge and pantry as well as cooking nutritious meals. 

Regular physical activity improves mood and reduces anxiety.  A brief walk together or with a pet will make a difference.

Focus on a good sleep routine and getting enough sleep.  Teenager’s body clock naturally shifts so that they want to stay up later at night and sleep in longer.  Depression can make it harder to fall asleep and relaxing activities before bed will help.  Avoiding screen time in the hour before bed also helps promote melatonin production.  Melatonin is the body’s hormone that promotes sleep. 

Educating your child that using alcohol and other drugs to dull their feelings will only make everything worse.    

Suggest a diary or journal that may make it easier for them to record their feelings rather than saying them aloud.

Reduce conflict in the house about other matters where possible

Share meals together as a family

Participate with them in activities they enjoy such as music, reading, movies or craft.