4 unexpected ways extras cover can support your mental health and wellbeing

By Dan Hatch

6 minutes

06 January 2021

When you think about private health insurance, you probably imagine getting covered for a trip to the hospital or the dentist. You might not think about your mental wellbeing – but here’s why you should.

Having private health insurance, even if it’s only extras cover, can help cover the cost of mental health support services. And this doesn’t just mean treatment for conditions like depression and anxiety. It can mean chatting to a psychologist about common issues like sleep, work stress and your relationships.

Anyone can struggle with mental health related issues, no matter your age or physical fitness level. The 2017-18 National Health Survey found that 4.8 million Australians (20.1%) were living with mental health or behavioural conditions.

So if you’re young and fit, or you think private health cover is only about protecting your physical health, think again.

In this article, we uncover four ways you might not have known that extras cover can help you look after your mental health. 

Hospital cover and Medicare also cover many important mental health treatments. You can read more about mental health with private insurance and Medicare to see what’s included.

1. Consultations with a hypnotherapist

Hypnotherapy, as the name suggests, uses hypnosis to help change patterns of behaviour or improve motivation. But we’re not talking about the type of hypnosis you see magicians perform on TV.

It may come as a surprise to some, but hypnotherapy performed by a clinical hypnotherapist can be used to help treat a range of concerns, including:

  • Phobias (fears such as claustrophobia)
  • Sleeping problems
  • Quitting smoking
  • Improving self-confidence

If you’re looking into having this treatment, speak to your GP first. Depending on your level of cover, extras cover could pay benefits towards your consultations.

2. Talking to a psychologist about everyday problems

There are lots of reasons you might need to speak to a psychologist. They’re experts in areas like stress management, anxiety, depression, and suicide. But they’re also there to talk to about day-to-day struggles and to get support from when moving through any kind of life change.

Here are a couple of examples you might not have thought about, but where a psychologist is the ideal expert to speak to:

Issues around sexual health and sexual identity

The mental health of members of the LGBTI community is, for a variety of reasons, among the poorest in Australia.

Keep in mind, it’s also not uncommon for people, of any sexual identity, to struggle to talk about what happens behind their closed bedroom door.

If you’re feeling anxious or struggling with aspects of your sexual health, a psychologist may be able to help. And if you have an appropriate level of extras cover, you may be able to claim for consultations with a psychologist.

Sessions for couples, families and groups

Private health insurance doesn’t just cover you for one-on-one therapy. It can cover sessions with your partner, your family or therapy in a group setting.

Support for FIFO workers and their families

Thousands of Australians work under fly-in fly-out (FIFO) arrangements, often to incredibly remote locations. While there are often significant financial benefits to working FIFO, the isolation, ever-changing rosters, night shifts, and long stretches of time away from family can take a toll not just on the individuals themselves, but on their families, too.

All of these stresses and constant readjustments put FIFO workers in a high-risk category, so it’s very important that they look after their mental health.

If you or your partner are working FIFO, having individual, couples or family therapy sessions with a psychologist or clinical psychologist can help improve your mental wellbeing and teach you strategies for maintaining strong relationships and communication.

3. Sleep therapies

Sleep restores our bodies and helps us set up for the day ahead, yet according to a report by the Sleep Health Foundation, more than half of adult Australians suffer from at least one chronic sleep symptom that affects their ability to live a healthy, happy life. It also found that almost 65 percent of us say we don’t get adequate or satisfactory sleep at least a few nights a week.

If you have trouble sleeping, insomnia, sleeping problems related to shift work, or those dreaded nightmares, an appointment with a psychologist could help.

4. Getting physical exercise for better mental fitness

Getting a little exercise every day, even if it’s just walking around the block, can have mental health benefits. By releasing endorphins and serotonin, exercise can help improve your mood, sense of wellbeing and sleep — and the act of exercising can take your mind off your worries and give you some ‘me-time’ to help reduce stress.

Using HBF Member Perks with an HBF health membership, you can access a range of member discounts and offers, including a 10% discount on a gym membership at Snap Fitness.

Getting cover for your mental health

With an appropriate level of extras cover, you could claim for any of these services. And if you’re keen to get even more comprehensive cover, you can look into Hospital cover too. Find out how it all works at HBF here.

Get cover for mental health services

With HBF’s eligible extras and hospital cover options, you can access extra support when you need it most.

Learn more

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There are also some great free services available through mental health organisations such as:

For a full list of services recommended by the government, check out the Health service providers page.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you’re not alone and there are several places you can turn to for help.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.