COVID-19 Update
As an established 100% telehealth practice, our services are unaffected by the current pandemic.

Welcome to telepsych.online

My name is Richard Harvey and I am a consultant psychiatrist who has been in practice for over 20 years.

My colleagues and I have created Telepsych Online as an alliance of independent private psychiatrists and psychologists who have committed to working to the highest standards to deliver personalised, recovery-oriented mental health care. We have aligned our practices and agreed to use common systems to link ourselves together and make access for patients easier.

Our objective is to make our services more available to those in need of high quality mental health care. In particular, patients in regional and rural areas and to those who would prefer to make use of the privacy, security and convenience of a telehealth consultation.

Our practice is a private billing specialist private practice offering follow-up and ongoing care via telehealth.

The menu at the top of the screen provides links to explanations of how to obtain a referral, what to expect from a telehealth consultation and details of our qualifications and experience.

Please the check referral critera for each clinician before organising a referral.

We more than welcome enquiries by phone or e-mail and we will do our best to help you work out whether a consultation would help you or a family member, and then whether a consultation by telehealth would be appropriate.

If you are a psychiatrist, psychologist or other allied health practitioner and would like to find out more about joining our alliance, please do get in touch by phone or e-mail. 

Telehealth and Medicare

If you live outside of a major metropolitan area then Medicare will significantly support your access to telepsych.online.

Click to search for your home address as registered with Medicare.

The map needs to shows that you live in an area designated RA2, RA3, RA4 or RA5. You need to select "Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas (2006)". This means you will have access to higher Medicare rebates. 

To see a psychologist by telehealth, the map needs to show that you live in an area designated as MMM4, MMM5, MMM6 or MMM7. You need to select "Modified Monash Model (2019)". Appointments are partially funded by Medicare with a small out of pocket cost.

If you live in a major metropolitan area (RA1 on the map) telehealth is still an option, although the Medicare rebate will be less. You should be able to find a local psychiatrist who can see you face to face via the RANZCP 'Find a Psychiatrist' database.

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Why do I need a referral?

As specialists, we work closely with your GP to get the best outcome for you. A GP understands all aspects of your health, both physical and psychological and can address any health issue you may have, including preventative health care.

You will need to visit your GP and ask for a referral to see me. GPs are sympathetic and supportive and will generally provide the referral that you need. You can download a letter we have written that you can download, print off and take to your GP. The letter helps explain how telepsych.online works and how we will support you and your GP.

Medicare requires a referral for us to be able to offer a Medicare rebate for your appointment. Without a referral you would need to pay the full cost of the consultation.

Once you have a referral, you can book your initial appointment online.

Will seeing a mental health professional help me?

This is probably the most important question to ask. A psychiatrist or psychologist can help establish whether you have a mental health condition. Even asking this question can be quite scary for many people as we live in a society where there is unfortunately stigma attached to mental health.

Your first consultation will generally be for 60-90 minutes. Your psychologist or psychiatrist will sensitively ask you to tell them your story, tell them about your life, and to describe the difficulties you are experiencing. He or she will then usually ask quite a lot of specific questions some of which may be quite personal. They may also ask you to complete one or more online questionnaires aimed at helping collect information that helps make sense of what is going on.

At the end of the consultation your practitioner will give you immediate feedback and tell you what they think is the matter, and what treatment might help. They may provide links to more information and ask you to reflect on their opinion. They will also write up their assessment and provide you with access to a copy via the patient portal. Once you are happy with it, and with your consent they will also share the assessment with your GP.

A one-off detailed assessment and plan maybe enough for you and your GP to work together on your recovery, or your practitioner may suggest, or you may request ongoing follow-up appointments which can be short term or longer term.

If you are seeking a psychiatry review to support an application for early release of Super to support IVF, then we recommend contacting our colleague Dr Justine Schelle at FertilityPsych who is an expert in this area and also offers telehealth.

Will telehealth be appropriate?

Definitely the next most important question. To use telehealth you need to have access to a reasonably fast internet connection (broadband, mobile 4G or NBN) and be comfortable using simple online video applications. 

Full instructions are provided and no special software is needed.  The system is highly secure, and no registration is needed. The video consultation system works on PC's, MAC's, iphone/ipad and Android. You will need a webcam (PC or MAC) and we recommend a headset with a microphone. 

For the consultation you need to be in a quiet and private place and be prepared to engage in a video consultation for up to 90 minutes. 

You need to be comfortable and relaxed and we recommend you have a glass of water and some tissues available. You are welcome to have someone else with you, who could be a relative, friend or your GP. 

You don't need to be particularly technically proficient to use telehealth, if you can use e-mail and Skype/facetime then you will be fine. We have found that the easiest device to use is a smartphone (Apple or Android).

When would telehealth not be appropriate?

By its very nature, telehealth is based on the patient and the doctor being at some distance from each other, and for the patient to be willing and able to safely engage in the consultation. 

Patients who are at moderate or high risk of harm to themselves or to others are generally not appropriate for telehealth. 

This could include patients who are acutely suicidal, homicidal or intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs. 

We do not provide an emergency service. Appointments need to be booked several days or weeks in advance and we are not able to provide an emergency response. 

In an emergency situation (where someone is at immediate risk of harm) it is best to dial 000 or to attend the emergency department at your local hospital.

What is Telehealth?

It's probably better to start with a simpler question of 'What is a psychiatrist?'. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialised in treating conditions relating to mental health. To become a psychiatrist you first have to train as a medical doctor, which takes 5-6 years. As a young doctor you then specialize in psychiatry which takes another 5-8 years. 

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is a specialist in diagnosis - trying to recognise and identify the condition causing the symptoms being experienced. In psychiatry this mainly involves talking to patients about symptoms, experiences and problems both in the present and in the past. As a medical doctor a psychiatrist may prescribe medication, if this is appropriate, but will also use psychological approaches to treatment, and will often combine both. 

A psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn. In Australia, registered psychologists are required to have a minimum of six years of university training and supervised experience, and to engage in ongoing education to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. They must also adhere to certain strict standards to keep their registration, and must provide professional services according to a strict code of ethics. 

Unfortunately there are almost certainly not enough psychiatrists or psychologists, and, particularly in Australia it can be difficult to find a practitioner outside of major cities. The Australian Government has recognised this and is encouraging the use of 'telehealth'. Telehealth involves the use of the internet and simple videoconferencing software to connect patients with practitioners. 

As the benefits of mental health care come mainly from the patient and the practitioner talking together this works particularly well in a telehealth setting. There are now a significant number of scientific publications that confirm that mental health care delivered over videoconferencing is at least as effective as face to face care, and some studies have shown higher patient satisfaction. 

Telehealth is fully supported by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists who have provided a helpful leaflet for patients. 

To take advantage of telehealth all that is needed is a reasonably fast internet connection (4G, broadband or NBN) and a device that can make video calls (PC or MAC with web cam, microphone and speakers, an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet). 

Telepsych.Online we have established an online only private practice that is intended to be accessible to anyone over the age of 18 in Australia who is seeking assistance from a psychiatrist or psychologist. The care we provide is holistic, centred on your needs and your concerns and is based on a philosophy of recovery - helping you to get the best out of your life.