Push For Free 'Preventative' Psychology Sessions

Early treatment

7 February 2019

Article heading image for Push For Free 'Preventative' Psychology Sessions

There is a push for changes to the 10 Medicare-funded psychology sessions in order to maximise the number of people who are able to access help.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule Review's mental health reference group has flagged the need for people to be able to access the services without needing to be diagnosed by a GP with a disorder.

Instead, it is proposed that people see a professional therapist or mental health expert before diagnosis, to reduce the possible stigma or worry that mental health concerns may not be taken seriously by GPs.

Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that one in five people experienced a mental health disorder in a 12-month period.

However, less than half managed to receive the subsidised Medicare treatment.

It has also been determined by the Mental Health Reference Group that 10 sessions is not enough to improve clinical outcomes for moderate to severe mental illness.

Furthermore, patients tended to use up these sessions in a matter of months, before then waiting for the following year's additional 10 sessions to continue with treatment.

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