Rebate for rural mental health video-calls
MEMBER for Maranoa David Littleproud has hailed his government’s decision to offer Medicare rebates for psychological services via video-call, just days before a Griffith University study revealed shocking suicide statistics in regional Queensland.
As of last Wednesday, “stoic bushies” living in regional or rural Australia can claim a rebate for video conferences with psychologists.
This announcement comes just days before a Griffith University study revealed 142 regional Queenslanders aged between 15 and 24 years killed themselves between 2011 and 2013.
The study found in regional areas, 18 people aged 15–24 died for every 100,000 people. In remote parts of the state, that climbed to 52 suicides for every 100,000 people. In Brisbane, there were 14 suicides for every 100,000 people aged 15–24.
Mr Littleproud said the telehealth initiative allowed people to seek help without being fearful of negative consequences.
“I often hear travel times and the fear of others knowing you’re receiving help stops people from putting up their hand for assistance, so that’s why we’ve introduced this new service to improve mental health access,” Mr Littleproud said.
The teleconferencing is hoped to adequately remedy the lack of face-to-face counselling in regional areas, especially for the younger generations.
REGIONAL HEALTH: Maranoa MP David Littleproud says mental health services are needed in bush.