Mental Health Services



At Mullumbimby Comprehensive Health Centre, we provide a comprehensive support service. Our service is made up of highly experienced, tertiary qualified mental health clinicians and ‘lived experience’ counsellors. The setting is holistic and the therapy is integrated, with the consumer’s needs central to the process. Our assessments consider each consumer’s multiple ‘life’ influences including the: biological, psychological, sociological, social, familial, environmental, spiritual, educational, sexual, racial and cultural, etc.
This process leads to the most holistic and accurate assessments and treatment planning.

Mental Health 

  •  Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis, Personality Disorders.
  •  Mood Disorders, Adjustment issues, Addictions, Anger Issues.
  •  Domestic Violence, Violence and Abuse, Trauma. 
  •  ADHD and Attention issues, Discrimination, Racism, Eating disorders. 
  •  PTSD, Aged care issues, Veteran support, Victims of Crime. 

Situational Crisis (Psycho-Social Problems) and Adjustment Disorders

  • When an event or multiple events occur in a person’s life that causes them high levels of stress and difficulty maintaining equilibrium. The person may find it very hard to cope on a day-to-day basis, as they normally would.
  • EG: Relationship breakdowns, Family crises, Acute Stress, Grief and Bereavement, Interpersonal conflicts.

Disability Services

  • Developmental Delay, Physical Disability, Acquired Brain Injury, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Hearing & Vision Impairments, Learning Disorders, Alcohol Related Disability/Brian Injury (ARD/ARBI).
The terms ‘counselling and therapy’ are often used interchangeably despite there being many different types. Essentially, counselling/therapy entails the process of building a trusting relationship with a health professional to work through emotional difficulties or situational problems (relationship breakdown, job loss, trauma, financial loss, etc); And/or receiving treatment/assistance for a mental health problem (such as depression/anxiety, PTSD, psychosis, mood disorder) or a disability. There are many different forms of counselling your experience will often be influenced by how your counsellor practices. Counselling is your space to talk about whatever you like, anything that’s on your mind can be discussed, without fear of judgement or being told to shut it down. This space is entirely yours to talk about and process whatever you like.

What is social work?

Social workers support individuals, families, groups and communities to improve wellbeing and better understand themselves. Social workers are committed to social justice, empowerment and human rights. It is a very broad profession, encompassing counselling, community development, advocacy and human rights, policy, family work, care and protection, social change and specialty clinical work, among many other specialties.  

What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are registered providers with Medicare Australia. They have been assessed on behalf of the Commonwealth Government by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist mental health expertise.
An Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) is eligible to provide services through designated programs approved by the Australian Government. They have a wide breadth of experience in assessing and treating people who have mental health problems.
Mental Health problems include; Depression and other Mood Disorders, Anxiety disorders, Personality disorders, Psychosis, Suicidal thoughts, Relationship problems, Life crises, Adjustment issues, Trauma, Family conflicts.
Like other allied health professionals, such as psychologists, accredited Mental Health Social Workers use a range of interventions to help people with mental health disorders. These may include any of the following focused psychological strategies: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Theory (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT), Solution Focussed Therapy (SFT), Positive Psychology (PP), Relaxation strategies, Skills training, Problem solving, Anger management, Social skills, Interpersonal therapy , Psycho-education, Cognitive interventions, Stress management, Parenting skills

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. This may involve family as well as individual counselling, and group therapy. Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.


What is counselling based on Lived Experience?

Counselling based on “Lived Experience” is a form of therapy where the counsellor draws on their own life-experiences. This approach assists in building a relationship between the therapist and client, as the therapist can empathise with their clients on a personal level. Whether through their own experience of mental or physical ill-health, the challenges and rewards of parenting, alcohol and other drug issues, and many other spheres of life. The therapist will allow their client to feel understood. Alongside other forms of therapeutic intervention provided by the counsellor, the aim is to assist clients to find their own way to transform their views of past experiences into signs of character strength and to move towards the outcomes that they hope to achieve.

When should I see a Counsellor or Therapist?

There are no guidelines that set out when you should or should not seek counselling.
In most cases it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you want to go into counselling. Of course, there are some instances when people are required by law or by contract to engage in a counselling relationship. EG: drug and alcohol counselling, relationship disputes, family law counselling etc.
Counsellors/therapists work with all types of people from all types of backgrounds in all types of situations. It is not possible to collate every situation that would benefit from counselling but some of the more obvious times people seek counselling are when they are stressed, aggrieved by illness, having relationship difficulties and/or eating disorders, for example.

A relationship is formed between a professional therapist/counsellor and an individual, a couple, a family or, a group. The relationship is based on the client wanting to ‘get help’ to emotionally process something. To feel better about something or actively address or change something in their life.

What will happen in a Counselling or Therapy session?

The therapist/counsellor will usually start by asking you why you decided to come and get some counselling and the reasons behind your decision.
This is usually a good starting point. The counsellor might talk to you about confidentiality and reinforce that you are in a safe environment. They might also talk to you about the actual counselling process and how it develops over time as a trusting relationship forms.
Your job is to try and connect to your feelings and talk about what you feel and think as openly as you can. It is helpful for your counsellor to know how your feelings now differ to how you would like to feel.

How long is a Counselling or Therapy session?

Counselling/therapy sessions are traditionally around 50 mins. This time frame was originally developed so the therapist or counsellor had a further 10 minutes to write up their notes. In some situations, it is possible to have shorter and longer sessions, online sessions or home visits. Whether these options are available depends on each individual counsellor and how they work or their therapeutic style. Please feel free to discuss with your counsellor.

How many sessions should I have?

Most people who come to counselling will use a ‘plan’ that they have received from their GP or referring organisation. These plans often designate how many sessions the person is entitled to have. The amount of sessions correlates to the amount of sessions where a rebate will be available.

What is the referral process?

If you feel you would like to see a counsellor there are several ways you can go about it. Many people may worry about the cost as they expect to go more than once. This is an understandable issue so there are referral plans from the Australian Government and other Non-government agencies that are supported by Medicare and attract a rebate for each session. These initiatives support people to access the counselling services they need. Your GP is one of the most useful people when wanting to access these subsidised referral plans. 

The following list is a selection of common referral plans and options where a rebate or subsidy is present:

1. MHCP: ( Mental Health Care Plan)

This referral plan is part of the ‘Better Access to Mental Health Care’ initiative and is designed for all people who would like help with a mental health related problem. This plan can be obtained from a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician to see a ‘mental health worker’ for ‘Focussed Psychological Support’ (FPS). The first referral entitles consumers to 6 x sessions of (FPS) counselling. A further 4 x sessions can be accessed after the first 6 sessions, making a total of 10 x sessions per calendar year. The same consumer is also eligible for 10 x ‘group therapy’ sessions in addition to the individual therapy sessions. (as per MHCP above) All 10 x sessions are Medicare rebatable.

2. EPC: ( Enhanced Primary Care)

This plan is under the Medicare category of ‘chronic disease management’ and entitles eligible consumers to 6 x sessions of counselling/therapy by an accredited allied health professional. All 6 x sessions are Medicare rebatable.

3. Eating Disorders

This plan is for consumers with an ‘eating disorder’ such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia. These consumers are eligible for up to 40 x sessions with an accredited mental health professional per calendar year. All 40 x sessions are Medicare rebatable.

4. ATAPS: (Access to Allied Psychological Services)

Most people would be eligible for ATAPS referrals and they are similar to a MHCP. The plan/referral for counselling is accessed through a GP, and we have accredited ATAPS counsellors at MCHC. All sessions are Medicare rebatable.

5. Victims of Crime

6. Veteran's Affairs

5. NDIS: (National Disability Insurance Scheme)

There is scope within some NDIS plans for a range of counselling or therapy. Accredited mental health social workers (AMHSW) are indicated to support consumers more than any other allied health professional where the NDIS is concerned. AMHSW can act as LAC (local area coordinators) as well as many other capacities for NDIS funded consumers.. Please ask your GP for a referral to an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker at MCHC for an initial assessment.The number of sessions available depends on the amount of funding and the structure of the NDIS plan


If you need a doctor urgently outside of our opening hours please call Byron District Hospital on 6639 9400.

For emergencies call 000 for an ambulance.

Urgent Care Clinic

On the day appointments are available by calling the surgery from 8am onwards until slots are filled. We recommend calling early to secure an appointment.

Opening Hours

Medical Centre
Monday – Friday: 8.30 – 17.00
Saturday: 8.30 – 11.30

Allied Health
Monday – Friday: 8.30 – 17.00
Saturday: 8.30 – 11.30