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Support Australian young people with mental health issues. Make therapy free & accessible.

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My name is Curtis. I am 18, and suffering from severe anxiety. My anxiety has stopped me doing a lot of things. I even dropped out of Uni this year as a result of my mental health. I tried medication, but it wasn’t for me. Regular sessions with a psychologist are making a huge difference to my mental health. However I am struggling to afford my ongoing psychology appointments. I've spoken to so many people my age who are also struggling with their mental health and also can't afford ongoing care. That's why I am calling for better access to therapy for young Australians.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of young people presenting at Australian hospital Emergency Departments for self-harm, stress and anxiety, mood, behavioural and emotional disorders. You most probably know someone close to you who has been in this exact position.

On top of the ongoing youth mental health crisis, young people are experiencing income inequality, underemployment, and struggling to make a living wage. The Australian Government needs to re-address the crisis of mental health in Australian youth, especially young people in rural and regional areas. We need to provide free psychology and psychiatric services to every young person in Australia, including remote areas.

Our Government should also be thinking outside the box, and creating free services to engage our youth with mental health issues. Why can’t we access professional online therapies for depression and anxiety disorders? I would love for every young Australian with a mental health issue to be able to watch online videos and answer questionnaires designed to highlight destructive behaviour and how to avoid it. If we have questions or worries, we should be able to message a psychologist who would reply or call us back with advice or encouragement. All of this should be free of charge. We have so many young people living in remote areas where they don’t have access to good quality mental health services.

Currently if you are suffering from mental health and are on a mental health treatment plan the government provides up to 10 Medicare-rebated sessions for psychological treatment. For example, a consultation to visit a psychiatrist will cost you $143.85 after your rebate. The cost to see a psychologist after your rebate is $65. A lot of young people cannot afford to take care of their mental health. And what will they do after they have used up their 10 sessions? They then have to pay the full cost which is around $300 for the psychiatrist, or $150 for the psychologist - this is every time they have to see them.

My aim is to bring down the shocking rates of youth suicide, depression and anxiety by getting the government to step up and do more.

We need better free mental health care for young people. Please, sign and share this petition if you agree.