Psychologists have been overwhelmed by the increase in demand for their services during the COVD-19 lockdown, with some even booked out until next year.
Since Australia when into lockdown on March 23, a total of 5,774,696 mental health services funded by Medicare were accessed, ABC reported.
One million of those were in the past four weeks as Australians – particularly Victorians under very strict lockdown – struggled with the effects of enforced isolation and restrictions on nearly all public activities.
Since Australia when into lockdown on March 23 due to the increase of COVID-19 cases, a total of 5,774,696 mental health services funded by Medicare were accessed (stock)
Anne Galambosi (pictured) a Perth clinical psychologist, said she is fully booked until 2021 and if anyone wanted to reschedule then her wait time are at least six weeks long
Anne Galambosi, a Perth clinical psychologist, said she is fully booked until 2021 and if anyone wanted to reschedule then they faced a delay of at least six weeks.
‘I am worried about clients that have depression and if they have a wait time or too big of a gap between their sessions, that’s not safe for them,’ she said.
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Ms Galambosi attempts to recommend her clients to other psychologists, however they are all in the same boat as they deal with an increase in clients.
Research conducted by the Black Dog Institute found that about 80 per cent of Australians felt their mental health had been affected due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Clinical research fellow Peter Baldwin said it was a ‘substantial increase’ from the usual 50 per cent of Australians who feel their mental health was suffering.
Mr Baldwin said health care workers were among those suffering most as their workloads soared while they were surrounded by the misery of the dying and those living in fear of the illness.
Perth Psychologists founder Patrick Jones, said he has never seen appointments so high in the two decades he’s worked in the industry and has had to hire more psychologists to meet the demand.
‘The issue with psychology is that [people] want to be seen immediately and it’s hard for an organisation to say ‘no, we can’t see you for three to four weeks’,’ he said.
‘Most issues have a certain pressing time element to them, so the impact basically is that it’s left unattended and potentially can escalate.’
The alarming increase in appointments has seen psychologists demanding more mental health services easily accessed with Medicare.
In August, Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced a further free 10 sessions for anyone subjected to further restrictions due to a second wave of COVID-19, such as those in lockdown in Melbourne (stock)
With Medicare, Australians are able to claim 10 free sessions with a psychological therapy sessions in a year.
In August, Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced a further free 10 sessions for anyone subjected to further restrictions due to a second wave of COVID-19, such as those in lockdown in Melbourne.
‘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,’ Mr Hunt said.
‘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.’