Re­bate for ru­ral men­tal health video-calls

Western Times - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO: TOBI LOF­TUS

RE­GIONAL HEALTH: Mara­noa MP David Lit­tleproud says men­tal health ser­vices are needed in bush.

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