Psychology service meets growing demand in the Hunter

Psychology service meets growing demand in the Hunter

A new private psychology service will open in Charlestown to meet the growing need for community-based mental health services in the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle region.

The incidence of mental and behavioural conditions in the region is higher than the New South Wales average, with figures revealing one in four people seek assistance for a mental health issue.

Ramsay Health Care’s National Mental Health Service Line Director, David McGrath, said the clinic at Charlestown will be the second of a number community-based mental health clinics that Ramsay Health is rolling out.

He said almost 29,000 people received community mental health care in the region in 2017/2018 with 15,970 of those presenting to emergency departments.

“This shows there is a huge need for more services to meet community demand for psychological services,” David said.

The new practice officially opened on 10 December, has already started to help Lake Macquarie and Newcastle locals.

“We have a team of psychologists offering support for a broad range of mental health conditions and concerns, from anxiety and depression to relationship problems, or coping with significant change and stress like the COVID pandemic,” David said.

“While we still offer psychology services in our hospitals, many people who need to see a clinician don’t need to be hospitalised, so this is a more appropriate option for them.

“For many people a few sessions in a community-based environment are all that they need to see a significant improvement in their life experience

“It will also be a good service for those who did require hospital treatment and want to do follow up sessions in a community setting once they have been discharged.”

David said community mental health care was now considered best practice and preferable wherever possible. The service at Charlestown is building up to have the equivalent of ten full-time clinicians.

“These community-based practices can sometimes be more accessible and feel less threatening, particularly to people accessing help for the first time,” David said.

The clinic also offers telehealth options for patients in more regional areas.

“Our team provides personalised care for adults, teenagers, and children, couples and families across a wide range of mental health conditions and symptoms.

“We understand that mental health, and mental health challenges, look different for everyone. That’s why our psychologists are experienced in a wide range of evidence-based therapies,” David concluded.

IMAGE | National Mental Health Service Line Director, David Mcgrath at Charlestown Ramsay Health Centre.

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