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Prevent a looming mental health disaster. Subsidise 20 counselling sessions now.

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My name is Curtis. I’m 19 and I’m living with anxiety and depression. Right now, when I need it the most, I can’t afford mental health therapy because I am unable to get a job due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The pandemic is profoundly affecting everyone. People with mental health plans that are running out are at risk of facing serious conditions. This is why I’m calling to increase subsidised counselling sessions per year to at least 20.

I have recently been campaigning for improving access to mental health therapy for young Australians. However, in the midst of this once-in-a-lifetime crisis, it is crucial to demand the government to give more support to the millions struggling to cope with this crisis. 

While the lockdowns will eventually be lifted, the fallout from the pandemic will be with us for a long time to come. For many people, employment will not return in the same way for years, career and study plans will be severely affected and social connections disrupted.

Modelling produced by leading experts suggest that COVID-19 crisis could lead to a 25% jump in suicide rate if unemployment reaches 11%. In fact, some experts fear suicides caused by the pandemic could overshadow deaths caused by the illness itself.

More needs to be done for mental health, especially for those with acute mental health issues. The government can start with doubling the number of subsidized sessions.

Currently, getting a mental health care plan only permits 10 visits per year to a psychologist. That’s not even one session per month. I’m telling you now, that’s not enough for people struggling everyday with anxiety or depression. 

The federal government took swift and effective action in response to COVID-19 based on predictive modelling. Now it is time to follow expert advice on the potential loss of lives from suicide and mental ill-health following the economic crisis.

We need to be prepared for the mental health crisis that has historically followed massive economic depressions and crises. Please sign and share this petition calling for subsidised counselling sessions to be doubled to 20 per year, for everyone.