RACGP welcomes mental health funding but warns more investment needed

Royal Australian College of GPs

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging Victorian patients to look after their mental health.

It follows today’s announcement that additional support will be made available for Victorians via headspace, Kids Helpline, Lifeline and Beyond Blue.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the RACGP has reminded Australiansthat GPs are there to help for mental health issues and urged healthcare professionals to look after their own health and wellbeing.

The RACGP has also previously expressed concerns that the stresses caused by this pandemic have resulted in more people self-medicating by increasing their alcohol and other drug intake

Victorian RACGP Chair Dr Cameron Loy welcomed the new funding but said that greater investment was needed.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward and any additional funding in mental health support for Victorians is great news. However, given the enormity of what Victorian communities are facing I believe more resources will be needed in coming months.

“We can’t be sure what path this pandemic will take but we do know that timely investment in mental health and suicide prevention can make all the difference. Victorians have already been through a lot and the ongoing uncertainty will only be adding to the strain.”

Dr Loy reminded Victorians that help is available.

“My message to all Victorians is straightforward – if you have any concerns about your mental health please reach out to your GP right now.

“There is no shame in seeking help, this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for many people. Some have lost jobs or are substantially underemployed, we are separated from our loved ones and not enjoying our usual hobbies and activities.

“Added to all of that many people are caring for children at home once again whilst working, which is far from easy. At times like this it can seem like every day is bringing with it more bad news; however, you are not the only one feeling this way and it’s okay to put your hand up and say that you need help.

“Support is available so please consult with your GP for any mental health issues and keep in mind that telehealth and telephone consultations are available. If you don’t feel confident using video technology that is okay, an old fashioned telephone will work just fine.

“The most important thing is that you take that first step and talk to your GP. Remember too that ten additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions are available for people living under further restrictions due to the pandemic.

“If you are worried that someone in your life is experiencing difficulties why not suggest to them that a GP may be able to assist. Looking out for our friends, family and loved ones is particularly important at times like this.”


/Public Release.