AAPi Media Advocacy: AAPi's calls for additional Better Access sessions is featured in InDaily today with compelling interviews by two Adelaide AAPi members who are seeing the negative impacts of the cuts. 

Perinatal health psychologist Dr Heather Mattner said that for women experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression, suicide was an unfortunate outcome.

“For the government to say that for those women 10 rebated sessions a year is enough – it’s absurd,” she said. 

“I think every woman in this country should find that deeply disturbing and deeply offensive.”

Mattner believes that 40 rebated sessions per year would be appropriate for women experiencing postnatal depression. Additionally, she would like to see mental health vouchers given to all perinatal women.

“They shouldn’t have to go to a GP and get a mental health plan, because then you have the problem of the GP saying ‘oh dear; you’re just tired – it’s just a baby’. Some of them can’t even get a plan to get ten rebates.

“I think it would make a massive, massive difference to stress and coping for women; the impacts of that on their babies, on their partners, on their families.”

Jamie Witt said he had clients who needed ongoing support for years but are about to end their 10 rebated sessions and were unlikely to progress as time goes on.

"20 rebated sessions was a great idea. Even if you don’t use all 20 sessions, that’s no loss to the government. But for those that do need it – those 10 extra sessions can be vital to outcomes,” he said.

"A psychologist should never have to think about whether someone has enough sessions left – that shouldn’t be what they are thinking about. I should just be going on with therapy and getting the job done.”

AAPi executive director Tegan Carrison said the federal government needed to intervene, especially in light of recent data revealing suicide as the leading cause of death in men and women aged 15 to 44.

“Alongside the ongoing cost of living crisis, the situation is not going to improve,” Carrison said.

“We have some practical solutions that, if implemented quickly, would ease the burden. These include a $150 rebate for all psychologists and allowing the 8000 provisional psychologists to practice under Medicare.”

Read the full article here.

AAPi in the Media

Posted on 28 July 2023