Psychologists at ‘crisis point’ in wake of disasters

The report from the Australian National University, which so many of our members contributed to, has been released. The report details the extent to which the psychology workforce is at a crisis point, with the results mirroring our own research. The report showed that around one in three psychologists reported symptoms of depression, while almost half, 47.6 per cent, reported low wellbeing. More than a quarter reported burnout, while a third were in danger of burnout. 

Without time and resources dedicated to solutions that can ease the burden, the workforce will continue to suffer - mentally, physically, financially and in their relationships. 

Psychologists have supported their clients and communities through an incredibly turbulent time. We must act to protect and support psychologists.

AAPi supports every recommendation in the ANU report in particular the need to increase the capacity of the workforce through training, to promote the wellbeing of psychologists, to reduce barriers of time and cost to access supervision and professional development, and to streamline systems to reduce administrative burdens. 

The endorsement and two-tier rebate system have ripped the psychology profession apart, devalued many thousands of qualified and experienced psychologists, and made their services increasingly unaffordable.

The one thing we continue to cry out for, for the sake of our clients and our profession, is an end to the two-tier system and an increase in the Medicare rebate to $150 across the board for the client of every psychologist.

More must be done to support psychologists so they can continue to do the incredible and lifesaving work they do every day. 

AAPi Executive Director Tegan Carrison spoke with 2SM in response to the ANU report, and The Canberra Times ran this article on the topic.

Director Sahra O'Doherty also spoke with ABC News Radio in response to the Australian National University's new report that showed the Australian psychology workforce is in crisis in the wake of disasters.

"Our own recommendations are very much in line with the ANU report," she said.

"First of all, we need to be bolstering the psychology workforce. And what that means is, at the moment, we have around 8000 provisionally registered psychologists who are already working in their communities and seeing patients and clients across Australia who need to have access to Medicare rebates to be able to make their services affordable for the whole of the Australian population. We're calling on the Government in their May budget that comes out next week to be able to add these provisional psychologists to the workforce.

"We also need to be bolstering training for psychologists across Australia. We need to have incentives for psychologists to move into rural and regional areas similar to GPs.

"And we also need to be making the Medicare rebate system fairer and more equitable for all psychologists, which means raising the rebate.

"At the moment the rebate is woefully low and we need to be increasing that rebate to $150 per session per person so that everybody has affordable and equitable access to psychology services.

And that would go a massive way at reducing burnout amongst my colleagues."

Listen to the full interview here.

ANU Report on the Psychology Workforce 

Posted on 5 May 2023