PACFA has stepped up its advocacy to Federal and state governments, as well as key mental health stakeholders, as the Covid-related mental health crisis intensifies.
PACFA has written to politicians including Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler, as well as health policy influencers, such as Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Vine, suggesting a temporary program be established which supports GPs to refer patients to counsellors as well as psychologists during the Covid public health emergency.
PACFA CEO Johanna de Wever met with Dr Vine to discuss the proposal and other means for counsellors and psychotherapists to be better utilised in the mental health system.
Ms de Wever also met with Victorian Health Department officials. She told them about the high training standards required for PACFA membership and members’ availability to support the many Victorian community members who are struggling in an extended lockdown but unable to access psychologists.
In Hobart, PACFA President Dr Di Stow met with Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, who has since written to the Federal Health Minister in support of including counsellors and psychotherapists in the Better Access Medicare rebate initiative. In coming weeks Dr Stow will be meeting with other politicians.