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Social workers call for double the number of mental health sessions under Medicare

Published: 11 May 2020

The Australian Association of Social Workers want the government to increase the number of mental health sessions allowable under Medicare, given the increased pressure people are living under – and will have to live under for some time to come.

At the moment, you can get up to 10. The AASW wants that doubled (at least). From national president Christine Craik:

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) have reported instances of their clients rationing their sessions despite significant concerns about their mental health and a worsening of symptoms as this pandemic continues. Social workers have reported observing an increase in service users presenting with suicidal thoughts and concerning behaviours. This is not surprising given the current circumstances, however supporting someone through this is difficult with the limited number of sessions available at the present time.

People are experiencing heightened anxiety with this pandemic, due to many stressors including loss of income, financial pressure, isolation, uncertainty about the future, and for some, dealing with this alongside existing mental health issues. We are seeing an increase in incidents of family violence and worsening drug and alcohol abuse. It is clear that if we are to work to support the mental health of Australians through this pandemic and into recovery, there needs to be adequate service provision.

See the original Guardian article.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers