The Australian public health care system, Medicare, has just taken an important step in recognizing that mental health care is just as important as medical care. As of November 1st of this year, Australian patients suffering from mental health problems will be able to receive Medicare rebates for evidence-based treatment, including Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT).

Patients can receive Medicare rebates for 12 annual individual or group consultations (or up to 18 in special cases) from approved mental health providers who practice evidence-based therapy (therapy that has been demonstrated in clinical trials to be effective). Patients must be referred to a mental health provider by a general practitioner, psychiatrist or pediatrician in order to receive the rebates, which can be used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and other illnesses.

This new Medicare rebate program was prompted in part by a highly successful pilot initiative called “Better Outcomes in Mental Health,” which aimed to integrate mental health care and primary care, and which specified that CBT or Interpersonal Therapy were the best evidence-based treatments. For more information about Cognitive Behavior Therapists in Australia, please visit The Australian Association of Cognitive and Behavior Therapy. Congratulations to Australia for helping to make mental health treatment more affordable to its citizens!