Affordable access to mental healthcare is now a reality

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Australians with mental health problems will have more affordable access to healthcare with the new Medicare rebate for psychological services coming into effect today.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) President Amanda Gordon says the rebate is an important benefit for the hundreds of thousands of Australians living with a mental illness and for their families.

“The APS has been campaigning for this rebate for many years. Now people will have affordable access to psychological treatment from experienced mental health professionals.”

”This initiative recognises the mental health crisis in Australia and shows that the Government now places the nation’s mental health on an equal standing with physical health.”

The rebate offers 12 psychological consultations yearly, with a GP review after the first six sessions. It covers a range of psychological conditions including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia.

“The service also encourages a team-based approach to mental healthcare. Psychologists will work with GPs and other health professionals to ensure patients have access to high quality mental healthcare,” says Gordon.

To access the Medicare rebate, a referral to a registered psychologist is needed from a GP, psychiatrist or pediatrician.

Gordon says the next step for the APS is to work with the medical profession in ensuring the public is fully aware of the new rebates. “We encourage people with mental health problems to visit their GP and discuss their options, which now includes more affordable access to a psychologist,” says Gordon.

To learn more about the Medicare rebate for psychological services download a fact sheet at www.psychology.org.au or call 1800 333 497.

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Editor’s notes:

Interviews with APS President Amanda Gordon and Executive Director Lyn Littlefield available on request.

Case study and fact sheet available on request.

About the Australian Psychological Society
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is the peak professional body for Australian psychologists. With more than 15,000 members and 40 branches across the country.  The APS advocates for community well-being and the contribution that psychologists can make at all levels and is committed to consulting and liaising with government, public and private bodies and the media on behalf of the profession.

Media contact: Clare Johnstone on 03 8662 3300 or 0421 071 364.