What is Mental Health?

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Everyone strives for good mental health, however the stresses of life can often get to us which can link to mental health problems. These problems often require the assistance of a qualified professional. However they are usually less severe than ‘mental illnesses’.

    • Lifeline on 13 11 14
    • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
    • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
    • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
    • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
    • Headspace on 1800 650 890
    • Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
    • Covid19 Mental Wellbeing Service 24/7 -1800 512 348
    • ReachOut at au.reachout.com
    • Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) on 1800 008 774
    • Middle South CAT Service – Monash Medical Ph: 24/7 – (03) 1300 369 012
      246 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168, Fax: (03) 9594 1436
Due to COVID-19, the Australian Government has announced that ten additional psychology sessions will be available until 31 March 2021,for patients who have used the 10 initial sessions of their GP mental health care plan. Please book a telehealth appointment with your GP to renew, or to discuss your eligibility if you do not currently have a mental health care plan.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness or mental disorders such as depression can significantly affect the way a person thinks, acts and behaves, while causing suffering to an individual and their community. There are many different types of mental disorders including:

Our Approach

Bluff Road Medical has a well regarded psychology team offering extensive experience in helping people with psychological, emotional and physical health difficulties. We work with our clients in a confidential, empathic and comfortable setting. We focus on providing solutions that are individually tailored and will have a positive impact on daily life.


Why Bluff Road Medical?

Our psychologists utilise evidence-based therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy and more. In addition, here’s why you should consider visiting Bluff Road Medical:


Qualified Psychologists

Experienced and qualified professional clinical and health psychologists

Sandringham Medical Clinic

360 Holistic Care

Our clinic is associated with a General Practice to help support all of your health care requirements at one location

Long Term Health

Long Term Health

We focus on long term wellness, with personal mental health care plans that enable ongoing support

How a Psychologist Can Help You

Psychologists are experts in providing therapies for mental health problems and disorders. An experienced Psychologist with the right qualifications will be able to assess and understand your specific situation before providing the most effective treatment plan.

Mental Health Support Team

Our team of senior clinicians can assess and treat children, adolescents and adults regarding a wide range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders and much more. Our highly qualified psychologists include:

Dr Aneta  Kotevski
Pgrad Dip Psych, DPsych (Health), MAPS

Clinical and Health Psychologist with a Doctorate in Psychology.

Dr Sophie Johnstone|
DPsych (Clin), MAPS

Clinical Psychologist with a Doctorate in Psychology.

Dr Nicole Redlich

Dr Nicole Redlich
BBsc (Hons), DPsych (Clin), MAPS

Clinical Psychologist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and over 20 years experience

Dr Ramsay Dixon
DPsych (Clin), MAPS

Clinical and Forensic Psychologist with a Doctorate in Psychology.

Karen Barnett

Karen Barnett
BA, MSW, Accredited Mental Health Therapist

 Accredited Mental Health Social Worker,  experienced with Headspace and Alfred Health

Dr Catherine Matthews

Dr Catherine Matthews
BSc (Hons) DPsych (Clin), MAPS

Experienced Paediatric Clinical Psychologist

Medicare Rebates for Psychological Services

Medicare benefits are available for a range of specified psychological services. To be eligible to receive psychological services under Medicare, a person must be referred by his or her GP and in some instances by another medical specialist. Please speak to your GP to further assess your Medicare eligibility and enable a suitable clinical referral.


Book an Appointment With One of Our Psychologists

With state of the art facility based in Bayside, we welcome you to make an appointment with one of our highly experienced psychologists to help understand and provide guidance on your immediate mental health needs. Click below to book an appointment.

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Types of Mental Illness

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder diagnosed in Australia affecting around 14% of Australians every year. While anxiety is usually a natural and short-lived reaction to a stressful situation, for some people anxious thoughts, feelings, or physical symptoms can become chronic, severe, upsetting, and interrupt daily life.

Severe, frequent, recurring, and persistent symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, trembling or shaking, feeling light-headed, sweating, and avoidance, may be considered an anxiety disorder.

The most common types of anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and health anxiety.

Mood Disorder

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are typically categorised by emotional disturbances involving long periods of excessive low mood (depression) and/or excessive periods of elation (mania). Depression is a common yet serious mental health issue whereby low mood and loss of interest in enjoyable activities is prolonged for a least 2 weeks or longer.

Bipolar disorder refers to cycles of extreme low and high mood.  Variability in episodes are likely; some can last for 3-6 months to occurring every few years. The prevalence of bipolar disorder in Australia is approximately 1.3% with symptoms detected in early adulthood.

Both depression and bipolar disorders interfere with daily life, work, study, relationships, and other functional activities.

Trauma related Disorder

Trauma Related Disorders

Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, diminishes their ability to self-regulate, and causes intense feelings of helplessness.  In our lifetime, we are likely to experience a potential traumatic life event, although most do recover with time and social support.  However, for some people the experience of a trauma, or repeated exposure to a trauma can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Traumatic events can include loos of control, betrayal, abuse of power, pain and loss, exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, and sexual or physical violence.  Emotional signs of PTSD are fear, anger, denial, or shame.  Individuals affected also show symptoms of reliving the trauma, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, insomnia, nightmares, negative thoughts and low mood, agitation, and hypervigilance.

Addictive Disorder

Addiction Disorders

Addiction is a complex condition manifested by compulsive substance use and harmful behaviours leading to negative consequences such as losses to relationship, employment, physical and mental health.  Individuals can develop addictions to alcohol, recreation and stimulant drugs, prescription medication (e.g., opioids, sedatives), gambling and gaming.

They depend on these substances and compulsive behaviours in the short term to increase pleasure, relieve stress, enhance performance, or decrease emotional/physical pain.  However, longer term consequences include impaired control (increased craving), social and financial problems, risky behaviour, tolerance and comorbid mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a serious mental illness defined by an unhealthy preoccupation of eating, exercise, body weight or shape that interferes with someone’s daily life. It does not discriminate and affect people from all walks of life. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other eating disorders.

There are a number of behavioural (e.g., constant & repetitive dieting, binge eating, excessive exercise, avoidance of food), physical (e.g., sudden or rapid loss of weight, loss of menstrual periods, fainting), and psychological (e.g., preoccupation with body shape, weight, distorted and negative body image, depression, anxiety around meals) warning signs.

The factors that cause an eating disorder are complex.  Genetic, biological, psychological, and socio-cultural influences are all found to play a role.



Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a developmental disorder typified by a number of difficulties including paying attention, poor concentration for prolonged periods, hyperactivity, impulsive behaviour, distraction and restlessness. Both children and adults can have ADHD and first symptoms start in childhood. Children and adolescents may find it difficult to pay attention and see tasks or activities through to the end or make careless mistakes with school work or other tasks.

Children and adolescents with problems in the area of hyperactivity may talk excessively; have trouble staying still when it is appropriate or expected and act like they are always “on the go”. The prevalence of ADHD in children and adolescence in Australia is approximately 7.4% with males diagnosed twice as much as females. AHDH negatively impacts on many areas of an individual’s life including work, study and relationships.

Personality Disorder


We experience stress when there is an imbalance between the demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. The way stress is experienced depends a lot on an individual’s attitude and responses to a particular situation. An event that may be extremely stressful for one person can be a mere hiccup in another person’s life.

However, if stress is ongoing and chronic, the impact of stress can have deleterious effects on physical and mental health. Physical symptoms of chronic stress include fatigue, sleep disturbance, insomnia, heart palpitations, headaches, muscular aches and pains, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations. Psychological signs of chronic stress involve feeling overwhelmed, fear, anger, worry, irritability, anxiety, helplessness, poor concentration and decreased memory.

Without treatment, stress increases the risk of anxiety, depression, burnout and physical health problems (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure). Other domains of life are also impacted such as performance at work, relationships, the ability to study, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep Disorder

Sleep Disorders – Insomnia

There is great variation in an individual’s sleep quality determined by genetic, psychological, lifestyle, and environmental factors, so that what constitutes a ‘good night’s sleep’ may be different from one individual to another. However, one the most common sleep disorders experienced is insomnia.

Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep (onset), staying asleep (maintenance), or waking too early, despite having the opportunity to sleep well. Common side effects are persistent fatigue, low energy, reduced attention/concentration/memory, difficulties in performance based tasks, low mood, irritability, headaches, and worrying about sleep.

Whilst the causes of insomnia is still in its infancy, research studies show that triggers can include stress and worry, significant life events, changes in routine, lifestyle factors (e.g., caffeine, alcohol, medication, obesity, sedentary behaviours), other sleep disorders (such as restless legs and sleep apnoea) and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.


A Psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn.

In Australia, psychology is a regulated profession. This means that practising Psychologists must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) and listed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Psychologist – Registered Psychologists have a minimum of six years of university training and supervised experience, while engaging in ongoing education to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Clinical Psychologists are trained in assessment and diagnosis of mental illnesses and are qualified to provide advice in clinical and compensation areas.

Psychiatrist – Psychiatrists are medical doctors with at least 11 years of training. Psychiatrists prescribe medication, Psychologists are usually the first point of contact before seeing a psychiatrist.

Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This scheme provides considerable assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare.

Under this scheme individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder can access up to 10 individual and 10 group treatment sessions per year.

Psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress while enhancing and promoting emotional well-being. Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. They have studied the brain, memory, learning and human development. Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour, including those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, serious and enduring mental illness, addictive behaviours and childhood behaviour disorders.

All psychologists are registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means that they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct.

To access mental health treatment under Medicare you must be referred by your GP, a psychiatrist or a paediatrician. If a GP is the referring practitioner he or she will need to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.

Under the scheme a psychologist must be registered with Medicare and have a Medicare Provider Number in order to provide services under the Better Access scheme.
Your doctor must first assess that you require the services of a psychologist. Your doctor may allow you to request a specific psychologist or may refer you to a registered psychologist that he/she recommends. The psychologist in question must have a Medicare Provider Number for you to be able to claim the Medicare rebate.
In order to receive a Medicare rebate under the Better Access initiative, you must be referred to a psychologist by an appropriate medical practitioner (GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician). The doctor must first make an assessment that you need the services of a psychologist. If you are already seeing a psychologist, discuss this with your doctor.

       Under the Better Access initiative, eligible people can receive:

  •  Up to 10 individual sessions in a calendar year (1 January to 31 December).
  •  Up to 10 group therapy sessions in a calendar year where such services are available   and seen as appropriate by your referring doctor and the psychologist.
  •  Referrals cannot be provided for the full 10 sessions. A referral is for a maximum of     six sessions. Your referring doctor will assess your progress after the the first six sessions then determine whether further sessions are required.
  •  After you have reached the maximum number of allowable sessions for the calendar  year you will not be eligible for any further Medicare rebates for treatment you  receive from a psychologist until the new calendar year. In extraordinary circumstances after natural disasters such as bush fires or Covid-19, extra sessions maybe available under the Medicare program.
The cost to you will vary depending on the length of the session and the psychologist’s fee.

The cost for a psychological therapy session is usually greater than the Medicare rebate, so it is likely that you will need to pay the difference between what the psychologist charges you and the Medicare rebate.

You cannot use your private health insurance extras cover to top up any Medicare rebates. You need to decide if you will use Medicare or your private health insurance ancillary cover to pay for any psychological services you receive.

You can either access rebates from Medicare by following the claiming process or claim where available on your insurer’s extras or ancillary benefits.

‘Mental disorder’ is a term used to describe a range of clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly impact on a person’s emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making.