Mental Health of Australians deteriorating: Virtual Psychology providing relief
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Industry experts are warning that the mental health of Australians is deteriorating with data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, reporting more than 2 in 5 Australians struggle with a mental health issue in their lifetime.
Amplar Health CEO, Dr Andrew Wilson said, “It’s alarming but what concerns clinicians even more is that those who need support can’t access professional help.”
An Australian Psychological Society survey of more than 1400 members nationwide examined the impacts of the pandemic on private, public and not-for-profit psychologists and found a record number are now unable to see patients. “One in three can no longer take on new clients, before the pandemic only one in 100 had closed their books to new patients,” says Dr Wilson. He explained the situation was a significant issue for patients, "In addition, I'm hearing reports that those who do manage to get an appointment are still facing a 12-month waitlist- that rings alarm bells.”
In response, Amplar Health in partnership with MyHealth has launched a new virtual psychology offering and rolled it out across all MyHealth GP clinics, with more than 250 applicants registering for the service in just three months. Interestingly too, 70% of patients who have already engaged with virtual psychology have made an appointment for a second or subsequent session.
MyHealth CEO Dr Hadrian Lee said, “Virtual Psychology is great for a lot of patients, not only can they finally get access to a psychologist but they can also have treatment in the comfort of their own space.” He added, “It helps to alleviate some of the pressure we are seeing on mental health professionals, provides GPs and their patients with a greater choice of specialists through a simple to manage process.”
Dr Andrew Wilson agreed, “Australians want increased access, choice and control in healthcare delivery and we’re going to provide it.”
Patients attending any of the 108 Myhealth GP clinics across the country can access the virtual psychology service with a referral if their doctor deems it appropriate. Facilitated by Medinet, the virtual psychology clinic provides virtual consultations and an innovative digital and phone concierge service to manage all aspects of the referral, booking and claims process along with feedback to the referring GP.
More than 2 in 5 Australians struggle with a mental health issue in their lifetime: National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2020-21 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
One in 3 psychologists can no longer take on new clients, before the pandemic only one in 100 had closed their books to new patients Unpaid, underfunded and overworked: Psychologists on the brink | APS (psychology.org.au)