Mental health care
We may cover the cost of mental health treatment for veterans without the need to prove it is related to ADF service. We do this through Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC).
On this page
Who is eligible
Current and former full-time members of the ADF can receive fully funded mental health treatment through their Veteran White Card.
Veteran Gold Card holders are already eligible for mental health treatment.
Reservists who have at least one day of continuous full-time service (CFTS) are also eligible for fully funded treatment under NLHC (mental health).
CFTS is defined as:
- full-time service in the permanent forces of the ADF
- a reservist who has been formally designated to be on full-time service by Defence
- a reservist who has been called out for full-time service by the Governor General under the Defence Act.
CFTS does not include training conducted as reserve service days.
Reservists without CFTS may still be eligible if they have either:
- Disaster Relief Service
- Border Protection Service
- involvement in a serious service-related training accident.
A veteran does not have to:
- prove that military service caused their mental health condition
- send us a diagnosis.
Call us on 1800 550 457 if you need help to check your patient’s eligibility for NLHC (mental health).Back to top
What conditions we cover
We cover the cost of treatment for eligible veterans for all mental health conditions, including (but not limited to):
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- depressive disorder
- anxiety disorder
- alcohol use disorder
- substance use disorder
- adjustment disorders
- bipolar disorder.
What treatments are funded
Treatment for mental health conditions funded under NLHC (mental health) may include:
- treatment from a mental health provider such as a GP, psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health social worker, or mental health occupational therapist;
- mental health admissions to a public or private hospital;
- mental health treatment delivered at a day procedure facility;
- prescribed medication for mental health conditions;
- relevant pathology and medical imaging services required to assess and diagnose mental health conditions;
- DVA recognised alcohol and drug treatment programs;
- services provided by Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling; and
- adjunct therapies that support treatment from a mental health provider.
When treatment can start
Veterans can start eligible treatment if they have had their application for NLHC (mental health) approved by us and are waiting for either their:
- physical card to arrive
- mental health treatment to be added to their digital Veteran Card on MyService.
Before arranging treatment for your veteran client, please ask them to confirm their card covers mental health treatment in the form of an NLHC (mental health) acceptance letter. You should also confirm that you (or the relevant provider) will accept the Veteran White Card as payment before making an appointment. You can also call us on 1800 550 457 if you need help to check your veteran patient’s eligibility for NLHC (mental health).
If the veteran is charged for an eligible treatment during this time, they should keep the receipts and:
- complete an application for reimbursement claim form.
- email it to medtreat [at] dva.gov.au.
If their NLHC (mental health) application is approved, we can reimburse them for eligible treatment costs incurred up to 3 months before the date we received their claim. This includes eligible treatment-related travel expenses.Back to top
What you need to know
DVA encourages veterans to speak with their GP if they have concerns about their mental health, to seek their advice and potential referral to a mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
GPs can refer veterans with mental health conditions to a mental health provider for fully funded treatment under NLHC (mental health). GPs may also refer veterans for additional services as an adjunct to mental health treatment such as exercise physiology, physiotherapy or nutrition advice. These supports will generally provide short-term assistance, for example, to help clients develop a healthy eating plan or a self-directed exercise plan.
If a veteran presents to your clinic, please make them aware they can access treatment for mental health conditions under NLHC (mental health).
Before arranging treatment for your client, please be aware that:
- the Veteran White Card does not cover NLHC (mental health) treatment overseas
- you need to confirm that you or the relevant provider will accept the Veteran White Card as payment before making an appointment
- when making a claim, you must state the specific mental health condition being treated.
The NLHC (mental health) Fact Sheet is a useful resource for consolidated information on NLHC (mental health). You may wish to print out the Fact Sheet to display in your surgery or provide to your veteran patients.Back to top
How to contact us
If you would like to talk to us about a veteran’s treatment through NLHC (mental health):
- call 1800 550 457
- email nlhc [at] dva.gov.au.