Howard’s Mental Health Day

It might be a hard concept to get your head around, but… Our prime minister did something this week we can only applaud.

Starting from next month, the services of psychologists and other mental health professionals will finally be claimable on Medicare. I believe everyone would be entitled to ten or twelve counseling sessions per year, plus they’re giving more resources GPs to help with people’s brains.

Our prime minister came out with this long-overdue change on the first day of Mental Health Week. Although of course it would have been initiated by the health department, who in turn have probably been prompted by literally years of reports telling them this was the way to go. As often happens, he’s probably taking the credit for policy made elsewhere. But if his presence increases the number of cameras and the attention when the announcement is made…

Until now, only psychiatrists have been claimable. Some psychologists take a dim view of psychiatrists and no doubt vice-versa. What ever your preference, you can now chose the discipline of your choice to help sort you out. The figures are pretty scary – over a lifetime, one in five of the people reading this will need the help of a professional. And now finally it won’t be a matter of the kind of care you can afford.

Now, all we need is for trips to the Dentists to be claimable.

And, perhaps more interestingly, could this be the first sign of a miniscule amount of compassion in the federal coalition? Could we be seeing Tony Abbott and Mr. Prime Minister developing a soft side? I’m not holding my breath, these guys are interested first and foremost in gaining and maintaining power, showing a soft side is no doubt part of that larger strategy. And strangely, sometimes the right things happen for the wrong reasons.

Make yourself an appointment now.

Mental Health Week (Victoria)