Psychologists welcome Federal Government commitment to Australians’ mental health during COVID-19 outbreak

Australia’s peak body for psychologists has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement today that universal access to telehealth will be opened up to all Australians during the coronavirus outbreak.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) President Ros Knight said universal telehealth would be of huge benefit to Australians in their time of need.

“Coronavirus is leading to increased anxiety in the community, and a worsening of current mental illness conditions. This is partly due to people having difficulty accessing the services they need, in person.

“Universal access to telehealth services will go a long way to ensuring Australians have the expert psychological care they need, just when they are likely to need it most.

“This is very welcome news indeed, and follows weeks of intense APS lobbying to Government.”

“Now more than ever, it is important that all Australians are able to access their psychologist in a safe environment” she said.

Ms Knight said that while the measures announced today were welcome and much needed, there was much more the Government could do to further support the mental health of Australians.

“We will continue to lobby the Government to provide more sessions to Australians who have a mental health care plan, by extending the currently available 10 sessions to at least 20 sessions.

“We are also asking Government to extend bulk billing incentives and practice incentives to psychologists, who to continue to offer face-to-face services, so that they continue to provide these vital services to Australians during this unprecedented time.

“Psychologists make up the largest mental health workforce in Australia. We are the backbone of mental health provision in this country, and we are integral to maintaining the mental health of Australians,” she said.

The APS has a number of resources available to assist Australians in managing their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, including advice for maintaining your mental health during social isolation, and tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety.

Visit www.psychology.org.au for more.

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