Victorians will now be eligible for 20 subsidised psychology sessions through Medicare.
As Melburnians brace themselves for a six-week stage four lockdown and regional Victoria prepares to enter a stage three lockdown, the Australian government has announced the expansion of its Better Access mental health program to provide an extra ten subsidised psychology sessions under Medicare to Victorians.
The ten extra sessions will be available to any Victorian resident who has used their existing ten annual sessions.
“The news of an extended lockdown, the news of an expanded lockdown, this will weigh heavily on many,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. “With this lockdown, there will be mental health challenges.”
“Our advice and our message to all Australians, especially to Victorians, is as difficult as this may be, this is the moment that we rise to be our best selves and we will get through this.”
The $7.3 million investment comes as the fourth round of support for Victorian mental health services from the government during the pandemic, with previous initiatives including the rollout of virtual and over-the-phone mental health support services under the new Telehealth scheme.
Telehealth has already seen over “22 million consultations, a large proportion of which have been for mental health or psychological support, and over $1.25 billion invested into that,” according to Hunt.
We understand many in our community are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the changes to COVID-19 restrictions. Please remember we're here to support you anytime on 13 11 14 or text with us nightly. Lifeline Text is available 6pm – midnight (AEST) on 0477 13 11 14. pic.twitter.com/9i81D7wknP
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This article originally appeared on Beat.