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7 August 2020

Message from the Chair

Hello from the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC), and welcome to the winter edition of our e-newsletter.

Review of templates for mental health treatment plans

Earlier in the year, the GPMHSC commissioned Monash Southern Synergy to conduct a comprehensive review of the templates used for GP Mental Health Treatment Plans (MHTPs). The purpose of the review was to collate and analyse the latest available evidence on the best practice for mental health assessment and treatment planning in general practice, and to seek advice from stakeholders working in the profession in regard to the usefulness and appropriateness of the current templates.
While the study concluded the purpose and function of the current GP MHTPs remains unchanged, recommendations were provided to update and improve the templates.
The GPMHSC will begin work on updating the current GP MHTP templates to incorporate the recommendations included in the final report. This will most likely take some time, however we anticipate to release the first versions of the new templates in the coming months. In the meantime, you can access the current GP MHTP templates by visiting our website.
An update on distance learning and mental health training

The past few months have seen a surge of interest in GPs wanting to upskill their mental health training and education. We anticipate more GPs will undertake training to be able to assist with the mental health and wellbeing of their patients. This will be even more important as we enter the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continue to encourage all our accredited training providers to look at ways to re-develop the delivery of education into formats that align with COVID-19 safe principles. This means offering mental health training via distance learning, including the use of online education. The GPMHSC reaffirms its commitment to working with providers to ensure the impact on GPs’ training and educational opportunities are minimised during this transition. Although we can expect some degree of technological challenges, our commitment to accredit high-quality mental health training and education for all GPs remains our top priority.

You can visit our website to access a list of accredited training and educational activities.

Associate Professor Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Referring patients for psychological services – What GPs should know

It is a mandatory requirement and best practice for GPs to provide a letter when referring a patient for a psychological service. A GP MHTP alone is not considered a referral and therefore not sufficient for the psychologist to provide a service.


Additional mental health support

The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Are you a registered GP provider of Focussed Psychological Strategies with an interest in educating

RACGP Rural is currently seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified GPs to facilitate small group case-based discussion sessions as part of their online Focused Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST).


New carer resource available for suicide prevention

SANE Australia in collaboration with research partners University of New England and University of Sydney have developed a new interactive, evidence-based suicide prevention resource.


Providing psychological support during the COVID-19 pandemic

The GPMHSC has collated a number of COVID-19 resources, fact sheets and guides for GPs to help with the mental health and wellbeing of patients.


When to use MBS item 2713 during a mental health consultation

The GP mental health care consultation (MBS item 2713) applies to surgery consultations, which are at least 20 minutes and where the primary treating concern is related to a mental illness.


Notifying Medicare of your completed Mental Health Skills Training

The GPMHSC Secretariat will advise Medicare Australia of your Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) completion only when the following requirements are met.


GP video resource on mental wellbeing and resilience now available

As part of the eMental Health in Practice project, Black Dog Institute have developed a series of video resources for GPs titled Working Towards Wellbeing.


For Training Providers

Re-accreditation of skills training activities for the 2020–22 triennium

Accredited training providers are encouraged to re-accredit their skills training activities for the 2020–22 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) triennium.


Distance learning – The new COVID-normal

Even though some training providers are beginning to resume delivery of their face-to-face workshops, it appears these activities may run at a limited capacity for some time.


Update your 2020 session dates

The GPMHSC highly recommends that all accredited training providers update their session dates and activity location details via the RACGP CPD dashboard.


Opportunities to develop online skills training activities

The GPMHSC encourages training providers to consider developing more online MHST and FPS ST activities in the post-COVID environment.


New accreditation logos for skills training and CPD activities

The GPMHSC has designed new accreditation logos for training providers to include on advertising material for the 2020–22 CPD triennium.


GPMHSC short videos available for download

Training providers are encouraged to incorporate the following resources as part of their mental health training and educational activities.


Multiculturalism and mental health

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) provides consumers, carers and service providers with information around culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) mental health care




Diet and mental health: What, why and how
Register online
Who is looking after us? Supporting healthcare workers during COVID-19
Register online
COVID-19 and mental health
Register online
Understanding teenage boys: Supporting adolescents through the good, the bad and the ugly
Register online


Accredited mental health training and education

Visit Mental Health Training and Education for available dates and course details for:

  • Mental Health Skills Training (MHST)
  • Mental health CPD
  • Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST)