Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cuts To Better Access

Something that has happened this month, that seems to be getting minimal press, is that the Senate in this country passed cuts in access to mental health services through the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative.

Better Access, through Medicare, meant that since 2006 people experiencing mental health issues could discuss these with their GP, and receive a Mental Health Plan to see a Psychologist or Social Worker, for up to funded (or near fully funded, depending on the practitioner) 18 sessions. This level of care would allow for assessment, and evidence based treatment for the issues presented. It also allows people who would normally not talk about such things, develop a trust in someone to enable them to open up, talk and address these concerns, before symptoms become something that needs a higher level of treatment, such as hospitalisation.

The new cuts, or redistribution perhaps, now means that such a person seeking help with mental health issues in this way will have access to 6 funded sessions. With a further 4 pending another GP review and approval.

There are many personal stories being shared by consumers and therapists across the web and blogospheres, many treaters outlining the people this is affecting the most - having their sessions end abruptly, not having access to further care at a crucial point in their treatment - or Psychologists working for free to ensure people are not at risk.

You can read more here, and you can sign the petition here, against it:

'Better Access' to Psychological Services Petition | GoPetition

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