Rockhampton’s young people falling through the mental health cracks

Medicare’s funding model is seeing more and more young people with complex mental health issues falling through the cracks and unable to get the assistance they need.

Youth Mental Health service, Carinity Wahroonga provides a free Adolescent Wellness Program yet it is experiencing an increasing number of young people seeking support for mental health-related issues across the Central Queensland region. Carinity is only able to provide these vital services, through the generosity of local donations.

Carinity Wahroonga Clinical Psychologist Stephen Braun encouraged Rockhampton people to support youth mental health by getting involved this year’s Christmas Trail and Dinner hosted by the Inner Wheel Club of Rockhampton Sunset. The Club is seeking to raise more than $12,000 to support Wahroonga.

“The issue with Medicare is twofold. A person only gets a maximum of 10 sessions a year which for a young person with complex mental health issues or trust issues just isn’t enough as it takes youth longer to become comfortable with their psychologist especially for complex matters,” Mr Braun said.

“This means young people requiring more than 10 sessions or psychological assessment services would need to see a private psychologist which can lead to huge out of pocket expenses. Money is always a critical issue for young people, especially when youth unemployment in the region is so high.”

“Youth often attend Wahroonga with complex emotional, behavioural, social and academic problems which are at risk of being unrecognised or undiagnosed without a comprehensive assessment performed by a Clinical Psychologist. For example, a young person with ADHD is struggling in school and this presents as emotional issues.

“A clinical psychologist will see and diagnose the underlying cause of what is actually occurring for the young person and therefore provide a treatment that will assist with long-lasting changes for the young person, not just short-term changes that focus on the observable behavioural or emotional issues.

“We also see a lot of young people coming through where the issue is actually family dynamics and family therapy is the most effective and efficient means of change for the young person. Medicare only covers individual therapy, thus doesn’t cover family therapy or individual assistance to the parents who are often key to a young person’s recovery. We are able to provide these services only because of the support through donations.”

“We’re grateful for the continued support the community provides us through events such as the Capricorn Christmas Trail which raised over $12,000 for us last year. This provided the ‘gap services’ free of charge making them accessible to all and filling the funding gap left by Medicare.

“We are seeing the Medicare ‘one size fits all’ approach just does not work for mental health, especially for adolescents. We are so thankful for the generous support we receive from the Rockhampton community.

“The Inner Wheel Club of Rockhampton Sunset is aiming to exceed last year’s donations with their dinner and Christmas Trail so I encourage people to support the event as it allows us to do so much good in the lives of the regions young people.”



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