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AFP, Jason Potter’ Mental Health Services are Failing the Poor and Hurting

AFP’ Jason Potter’ Mental Health Services are Failing the Poor and Hurting

Jason Potter, Australian Federation Party Candidate for the Eden-Monaro byelection has
spoken out today about the failure of governments to adequately fund mental health services
to help the poor and hurting in our communities. “In the past eight months, we have seen
three of the most significant traumas experienced by our local communities in the past 100
years. The long-term drought, catastrophic bushfires and the COVID 19 pandemic have pushed
many people to the edge of their mental and emotional capacity”, said Jason. “However,
neither the federal nor the state government have acted effectively to resource people who
are suffering. This is why, in releasing our policy on mental health today, we are calling on the
Federal and State governments to act urgently to support our hurting communities.”
 
Our policy calls for an extension of the Medicare rebate to include registered counsellors and
psychotherapists. A position supported by the Australian Register of Counsellors and
Psychotherapists (ARCP). In a paper published on April 20
th
 2020 they wrote “There are
currently shortages in the mental health workforce with patients experiencing limited
availability and long waiting times for initial appointments and between sessions in some
metropolitan areas and other areas with low service access and high levels of underlying
mental health need, such as rural and regional Australia.” (Report Attached with this Media
Release).
 
The current Medicate rebate is also only accessible to people who can afford to see a
Psychiatrist or a Psychologist, whose prices can be $200 upwards per session, or social workers
who are not often available in rural and remote communities. The standard Medicare rebate
of about $80 covers less than half the cost of a single session. This means a person seeing a
psychologist or psychiatrist can be out of pocket well over $100 per session. Registered
Counsellors and Psychotherapists charge $100-$150 per session making their services much
more accessible for everyone and equally effective. Extending the Medicare rebate to
registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists would mean:
 
People in Eden-Monaro, on low incomes, people who have lost their homes and businesses
to drought, bushfire and/or COVID 19, could afford to access a mental health service. 

  A significant increase to the number of practitioners a person can access through Medicare
in Eden-Monaro. 
•  A significantly decreased waiting time to see a mental health professional through the
Medicare rebate system.
 
This policy change needs to be implemented nationally to provide those who are struggling with the fastest
growing illness in Australia the support and resources they need.

Source: AFP Australian Federation Party

Email:      glenn.orourke@federationparty.org
Web:       www.australianfederationparty.org.au

FBFed:    www.facebook.com/FedParty/
FBSA:      www.facebook.com/FedPartySA/

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