Mental health nurses ready and waiting to help Victorians
Friday 4 November 2022
Victorians are waiting six months for mental health support while qualified mental health nurses (MHNs) who can ease the pressure on the ailing healthcare system are limited in their ability to provide assistance.
The Brisbane Times this morning reported on the significant wait times continuing to plague the Victorian mental healthcare system, despite the state government committing $3.8 billion to the sector. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) urges federal and state governments to better utilise qualified MHNs to address the need for more mental health professionals in this space.
“The focus continues to be on waiting lists for psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors, but they’re not the only qualified mental health clinicians out there. We urge the Victorian Government to expand their understanding of mental health professionals to include qualified MHNs.” ACMHN CEO Stephen Jackson said.
Qualified MHNs are highly skilled, therapy-trained mental health clinicians who have experience and qualifications equal to other mental health professionals. They have a deep knowledge and expertise in identifying and treating mental health issues and can provide a high standard of holistic care and understand how physical and mental health interact. But they can only provide a restricted number of services under Medicare.
“Currently, qualified MHNs are only able to provide very limited services under Medicare, making it harder for them to work independently.” Mr Jackson said.
“When restrictions are lifted, MHNs would be able to support those who are waiting to see a psychiatrist, support GP offices by providing specialised knowledge, and support independent Headspace centres.”
The College stands ready to help the Victorian Government address the six month wait time Victorians are currently experiencing for mental health support.
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