Workforce boost a win for psychologists and patients, says psychology peak body

Australian Psychological Society

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) commends the Federal Government for listening to long-running APS advocacy by investing in the psychology workforce, as revealed in tonight’s Federal Budget 2023/24.

The $91.3 million in additional funding over five years is expected to boost psychology numbers through the addition of:

  • 500 psychology post-graduate placements

  • 500 one-year internships

  • 2,000 supervisor training sessions (1,000 of which will be refresher places), and

  • A redesign of psychology higher education pathways

APS President Dr Catriona Davis-McCabe said the investment would have a positive impact on the mental health of everyday Australians.

“Investment in the psychology workforce will increase accessibility to services and reduce wait times for Australians in need and take pressure off GP clinics and emergency departments bursting at the seams.

“We are the largest mental health workforce and yet we have suffered from chronic underinvestment, despite record breaking demand. Before the pandemic 1 in 100 psychologists were unable to see new patients, this is now 1 in 3.” she said.

Following several rounds of consultation, Dr Davis-McCabe said Federal Health Minister the Hon Mark Butler MP should be thanked for taking this important first step in resolving the psychology workforce crisis.

“While we can’t solve everything in one budget, this is a step in the right direction.”

“I’d like to thank the Minister for his commitments tonight and for constructively consulting with the APS to consider our evidence-based solutions,” she said.

In Australia 4.2 million people aged 16-85 have had a mental disorder in the last 12-months, with 14% of children and adolescents aged 4-17 also experiencing a disorder in the last 12-months. Mental illness is also Australia’s leading chronic health condition.

Despite this, mental health funding also accounts for approximately just 10% of total federal health funding.

APS CEO Dr Zena Burgess said “the funding comes at a time when psychologists are reporting a de-stigmatisation of mental health issues and a resultant increase in demand for their services”.

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