With Mental Health Week starting tomorrow, the news could not be any more timely - even if it is unofficial at the moment.
Until now, psychological services were mostly limited to those who could afford to pay privately. While there is provision of service within the public health system, resources tend to be both limited and oversubscribed.
This week, it is rumoured that the government will announce rebates under Medicare for one-on-one or group sessions with psychologists for individuals referred either by their G.P. or by a psychiatrist. The rebate will be approximately $100 per session, with a limit of 12 sessions per year.
I qualify this as 'rumoured' because, although widely covered in the media, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) reports that the details are based on 'leaked' and 'inaccurate' information.
The rebate, if it proves to be accurate, is well below the hourly rate recommended by the APS of $186 for a 46-60 minute session. However, psychologists are free to adjust fees according to a client's financial circumstances.
In any case, it is a move, long overdue, in the right direction to making mental health care more affordable and available to those who need it.
For those who are interested, check the APS website after 12.00 pm Monday the 9th October for full details.