LEA joins call for urgent upscale in psychology workforce
Leading psychology and mental health organisations have formed a coalition to address and highlight the ongoing shortfall in workforce planning and training for specialised psychologists.
Together, the Australian Clinical Psychology Association, Institute of Clinical Psychologists and consumer advocacy body Lived Experience Australia are working to express the serious deficits in care Australians will face when seeking specialised psychology services in areas such as clinical, counselling, educational and developmental, and neuropsychology services.
We have also worked closely with colleagues from other endorsed practice groups to explain the shortage in funding for Commonwealth Supported Places to media and politicians. You may have seen the recent media release and articles in the news.
Commonwealth funding lacking
We know the annual Commonwealth Supported Place funding of $13,250 for post-graduate psychology places puts Federal Government funding for mental health training well behind physical health where medicine and dentistry attract $27,000 annually per place.
The cost of this is universities are unable to afford to offer enough places for the many capable students wishing to pursue a career in a specialised psychology field and of course, most young Australians simply cannot afford the $70,000 needed to study for two years as a full fee paying, post graduate student.
The high cost to mental health
Lived Experience Australia Chair and Executive Director Prof Sharon Lawn said the lag in post graduate education and training would come at a high cost for patients in the future, particularly those living in rural and regional areas where specialised mental health care was already difficult to find.
“I am alarmed to see the number of highly trained specialised mental health professionals stagnating at the same time as Australia’s mental health crisis and demand for services is soaring,” Prof Sharon Lawn said.
In the long term, this training gap will result in a crippling shortfall in care for people with the most debilitating mental health conditions. An urgent upscaling in supervised training and further education for students wanting to train and work in specialised and high demand areas such as clinical psychology is needed.
We are proud to be working alongside each other to express our concerns to Government and will keep you updated on our ongoing efforts.
Professor Caroline Hunt
Dr Marjorie Collins
Professor Sharon Lawn
Chair & Exec Director, LEA