PSYCH2U: Making Mental Health Care Easy and Accessible for Rural and Remote Australians

Author: Sarah Richardson, General Manager, PSYCH2U

For rural and remote Australians, accessing mental health professionals often means long commutes, travel costs, and long periods of time between appointments. When considering that 31% of Australians live outside of major cities, this means a huge proportion of the population going without regular access to professional mental health services. To improve access to Psychologists and Psychiatrists in a way that works for people in rural and remote communities, PSCYH2U was formed in 2011, powered by GP2U.

GP2U is Australia’s only dedicated online medical practice, and delivers consultations to patients where and when it suits them. Through proprietary software facilities, consultations take place via a secure video link. The system is deeply integrated into the Australian healthcare system and allows the mental health practitioners to deliver prescriptions, pathology requests and specialist referrals, and enables secure provider-to-provider messaging.

Why teleservices?

By increasing access to mental health services, rural and remote Australians are able to experience the same care as people in metropolitan cities, without needing to leave their home. This has shown to allow for early access, early diagnosis and early intervention – and ultimately means that patients can be treated before problems become worse.

With services bulk-billed, and specialists working closely with General Practitioners through the GP Shared Care model, mental health care becomes affordable and efficient for this portion of the population.

How it works

PSYCH2U delivers Psychiatric and Psychology appointments through the telehealth platform, as well as face-to-face Psychology appointments for patients residing in Hobart and surrounding areas.

Once a patient obtains a referral from their GP (made out to PSYCH2U Psychiatrists) the GP simply faxes the referral to 1800 472 832. The PSYCH2U admin team will then call the patient to arrange an appointment.

Consultations can be taken anywhere the patient has internet access such as their home or medical centre.

Services

PSYCH2U delivers General Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Psychology. These services support the treatment of conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Anxiety & Depression. Specialists also offer support with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Medico Legal Reports and GP Management plans.


About Sarah

Sarah has worked in the Health Care Industry for more than 15 years, commencing her career in pathology at the Royal Hobart Hospital’s central processing unit. Sarah completed her Certificate III in Business Office Administration and then moved into general practice where she managed five sites in Tasmania over a seven year period.

In 2012, Sarah joined Ochre Health, and in 2013 relocated to Canberra where she successfully oversaw the opening of a large clinic.

Now based back in Tasmania, Sarah is leveraging her extensive Australian healthcare experience to deliver a portfolio that includes Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

Eligibility

Bulk-billing is available to those living outside of major cities. Telehealth eligibility is determined according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) classifications. Medicare benefits are available for services provided to patients outside of RA1 – Major Cities. You can identify if you are eligible by looking at the map here:

http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/Locator

For people wanting to consult with a Psychologist you must be in a RA4, RA5, RA6, RA7 location.