AAPi's key survey finding about cost being a major barrier to mental health services was the key theme of an article in this week's Launceston Examiner.
Executive Director Tegan Carrison said the current Medicare rebates were woefully inadequate, leaving vulnerable clients unable to afford care.
"The rebate on a visit to a registered psychologist is just $89 which often leaves the client out of pocket anywhere between $90 and $140. AAPi is calling for a $150 rebate across the board for the clients of all psychologists, which will make access so much easier," she said.
AAPi continues to lobby for the retention of 20 sessions annually, given the extreme level of mental health need across the country.
"We implore the Federal Government to listen to what the community is crying out for - which is simply more equitable access to mental health professionals," Tegan said.
"The reality is we need significant reforms urgently and realistic investment into all mental health services to ensure our community stays well. An investment in mental health is an investment into a healthy economy."
This week AAPi Director Sahra O'Doherty was featured on the popular podcast, The Briefing, on the subject of "Why finding a psychologist seems impossible".
Sahra discussed the three major issues: the difficulty accessing a psychologist via a GP and wait times, the cost issues and finding the right psychologist.
Sahra mentioned her practice had been closed to new clients for four months, with wait times across the sector remaining a major concern and that they were advising new clients to ring around to different practices to be waitlisted, which is a burden those in need of mental health support do not need.
She also highlighted the concerns with the 20 allowable psychology sessions being reduced to 10 at the end of the year; the complicated processes required by Medicare; the considerable cost to clients who need regular sessions; and AAPi's calls for a $150 rebate across the board.
Thanks to Sahra for an excellent in-depth interview. You can listen to the episode here.
AAPi Director Mark Baxter was interviewed on Sky News this week, discussing the results of the 2022 AAPi Private Practice Survey and the need for the Federal Government to increase the rebate to $150 per client session. Mark noted that costs, affordability, accessibility to psychologists, and an escalation of mental health issues across the community were some of the top issues in the survey. Mark supported our calls for Medicare rebates for provisional psychologists, noting that regional areas were particularly struggling with workforce shortages.
AAPi member Dr Michael Carr-Gregg was featured on Neil Mitchell’s show on 3AW this week, once again highlighting the current mental health crisis, the significant workforce shortage and calling for the Medicare rebate to be increased to allow for increased access to mental health services for those in need.
Listen to the full episode here. Dr Carr-Gregg's comments begin at 1:32:50 into the recording.