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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Stop the cuts to psychological services

By Darren Stones

Hi folks, I have rarely written about my personal experience of mental ill health, however as I become more willing to share my story in the public arena, I have in my heart the want to impress on how vital it is for affordable and accessible treatment.

I encourage you to sign the Stop the cuts to psychological services petition at, which was initiated by Perth-based psychologist Ben Mullings on behalf of the Alliance for Better Access. In doing so, you will be adding your voice to a cause that affects all Australians in one way or another.

From the petition:
"In November 2011, the Australian Government cut access to psychological services in the Better Access to Mental Health Care program down to just 10 appointments. Research has consistently shown that at least 15 to 20 sessions of brief therapy is the recommended minimum treatment."

I encourage you to view the campaign video that was created by Alison Fairleigh, Mental Health Advocate, and staff member with the Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland. I have my head in the video, so don't let that deter you from viewing it. :)

My experience of depression and anxiety was horrid. In 2009, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. From September 2009 to November 2011, I undertook therapy with my psychologist. Life has improved for me, and it's because of the support from my family and friends, an online network of people, and most importantly, a caring doctor and an awesome psychologist. Without affordable treatment, I do not know where I would be today. Who knows what might have happened.

I know of many people who currently do not have the strength to advocate, so being mindful of that, it's important we do our best to speak up and bring to the attention of the Australian government the basic need of affordable treatment. Those who cannot speak up at this point may gain strength by what we do. In time, they may share their stories and become advocates themselves. Let's hope so.

Please help send the petition and video viral because it's a cause that is quite simply worth fighting for. Thank you. :)

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