Australian Government announces additional Mental Health support.
Almost half of all Australians aged 16 to 85 years — 7.3 million people — will experience mental illness at some point in their life. The most common conditions are:
- affective disorders, especially depression
- substance use disorders, especially alcohol use
One quarter of Australians aged 16 to 85 years — 4.2 million people — will experience an anxiety condition during their lifetime. Women are more likely than men to experience depression and anxiety.
These conditions can be serious but help is available.
The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The additional Medicare subsidised sessions will allow people in eligible areas who have used their 10 sessions to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, psychiatrist, GP or other eligible allied health worker.
The new items will apply to people subject to public health orders restricting their movement within the state or territory issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, and to people who are required to isolate or quarantine under public health orders.
Patients will be required to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with their GP to access the additional sessions. This measure will commence on Friday 7 August and be available until 31 March 2021.
The additional Government support recognises that many people in areas impacted by the second wave of the pandemic will be facing increased emotional and mental stress.
This will ensure that Australians can continue to access essential mental health treatment and support at this difficult time.
Services that can help
Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service is available to all Australians needing support through the COVID-19 pandemic and can be accessed via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or on their website.