Absolutely. Blackbird works with women who are experiencing any issues related to pregnancy and the postnatal period. We provide advice, support and counselling on many issues that arise – for eg) a change in relationship dynamics, adjustment to parenthood and linkages to specific services.
You do not need a referral from a Medical Practitioner to access our services; however if you are pregnant or have been pregnant in the past 12 months, and have any personal concerns related to a recent or current pregnancy, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate (Non-Directive Pregnancy Counselling). All you require is a referral letter from your GP, dated and signed to access the Medicare Rebate. You do NOT require a GP Mental Health Plan to access this type of counselling.
If you DO have a mental health condition, you may also be eligible to receive Perinatal Counselling. Medicare rebates are available upon referral via a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
I had my baby 4 years ago and I feel physically and emotionally depleted and am finding it difficult to cope with daily activities. Surely this is not postnatal depression or anxiety 4 years post-birth?
It’s important to remember that postnatal depression and anxiety doesn’t just occur in those first few months after birth. According to the Centre of Perinatal Excellence in their Perinatal Guidelines 2017:
‘Australian studies have reported persistence of maternal depressive symptoms beyond the first year postpartum, with more mothers reporting depressive symptoms at 4 years follow-up than in the first 12 months postpartum (Woolhouse et al 2015), symptoms persisting from pregnancy to 4 years postpartum in one in eleven women (Giallo et al 2017b) and symptoms persisting from the first year to 6–7 years postpartum in one in six women (Giallo et al 2014a).’
Blackbird assists women at any stage – pregnancy, postnatal and BEYOND. Maternal mental health is our priority. Let’s have a new and honest conversation about it.
What is the difference between the Non-Directive Pregnancy Counselling item and Perinatal Counselling mental health Medicare items?
There are important differences between pregnancy support counselling and mental health psychological services under Medicare.
- The pregnancy support counselling referral is not specifically for a mental health disorder, but can be for parenting, health or relationship concerns.
- The pregnancy support counselling rebate only covers 3 sessions, although you may continue working with the Social Worker as a private patient, or be referred again under another appropriate initiative.
Specifically, women who use the pregnancy counselling services can ALSO receive a rebate for psychological services under Medicare for mental health disorders or chronic diseases, following a GP referral and care plan.
Pregnancy support counselling may also help a woman identify issues for which a woman may need help from professionals other than a Social Worker. For example, it might be identified that the woman needs to see medical, social services, legal or financial professionals to address concerns about pregnancy care, living arrangements, leaving/returning to work, childcare arrangements or finances. The Social Worker may help you develop strategies or identify services to access these supports.
Your Medicare Rebate will be processed at the end of the session via Medicare Easyclaim. To receive a Medicare rebate when seeing an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker:
- Make an appointment to see your GP, Paediatrician or Psychiatrist.
- Take this brochure with you and ask your GP for a mental health care plan and a referral letter, or
- If you are being referred by your Psychiatrist or Paediatrician, just ask for a referral letter.
Eliza Pike is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. These are social workers who have extensive postgraduate training and experience in the mental health field.
Accredited Mental Health Social Workers help individuals to resolve their presenting psychological problems, the associated social and other environmental problems, and improve their quality of life. Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having an illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.
Like other allied health professionals such as Psychologists, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers use a range of interventions in helping people with mental health disorders, including the following focussed psychological strategies: cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, relaxation strategies, psychoeducation, narrative therapy and skills training.