Not every patient with a mental health condition needs to or wants to go beyond their GP for help. Australian evidence-based online resources can help GPs provide effective mental health care in their own practices without specialised training.
In Australia in 2006 there were 2.1 million people with a 12-month mental health disorder who did not use any professional services for their mental health problems but perceived they had an unmet need.1 In response, the Australian Government launched the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative that enabled Australians with mental health problems to access Medicare benefits for psychological services as long as they were referred by a GP under a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This measure significantly changed the way mental health disorders were managed in general practice, making affordable psychological services available to all Australians. A formal evaluation of the Better Access program published in 2011 showed that the program had increased the treatment rates for individuals with mental illness from 35% in 2007 to 46% in 2010.2