Transpersonal counselling courses can cost up to $1,000 each, according to a new report.
The new research, released by the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), found that most counselling services offered by mental health agencies were unaffordable for people with low incomes.
The NMHC’s report found that just 3 per cent of the mental health services in NSW were provided by non-government organisations, while about 12 per cent were provided from within government-run organisations.
The organisation said the figures were “particularly concerning” because mental health patients were more likely to be struggling financially than those who were not, particularly when it came to rent and utilities.
But NMHCC director of public affairs and public affairs Paul O’Connell said it was important to remember that most mental health problems were complex and were not fixed by the state.
“A lot of the services we provide are not aimed at helping people who are financially disadvantaged,” he said.
“It’s not for people who don’t have the means or the ability to pay.”
The report said many services were not available to people who were currently living in poverty and could be more effective in reducing their financial burden.
For example, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which provides financial support to people living in disadvantage, did not provide financial counselling services for people living on less than $25,000 per year.
Mr O’Connor said mental health professionals needed to be better trained to make mental health treatment accessible to people on less income.
“The vast majority of people who go to mental health have a low income,” he explained.
“People who have a lower income tend to be people with mental health issues, and often the mental illness itself is causing some of the problems.”‘
We need a different approach’The NMAI said it had seen a decline in the number of people living with mental illness, particularly those with mental illnesses that were untreated.
The group said that the majority of those people were likely to have suffered a mental health problem themselves.
“We need to recognise that mental health and mental illness can have impacts on every single person, and it is important that we work together to make sure we are addressing all of those issues so that we don’t continue to put people in harm’s way,” Ms Pate said.
She said that while the NMAE did not have a particular focus on mental health, it would continue to focus on making mental health a priority for all Australians.
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