Bottleneck slows psych support
High demand is not helping more psychologists enter the field.
Psychology students are facing delays in entering the industry due to a shortage of course placements, as the demand for mental health support surges, and one in three psychologists refuses new patients.
While the federal government has pledged $91.3 million to create new places for psychology students to complete their final years of study, students and psychologists argue that this funding is insufficient to meet the growing need.
Undergraduate courses accept 200 to 300 students, but postgraduate courses offer only about 40 spots, putting significant pressure on students competing for limited positions.
The government's National Mental Health Workforce Strategy includes 500 new postgraduate placements, 500 one-year internships, and 2,000 subsidised supervisor training places, which are seen as positive steps.
However, the Australian Association of Psychologists insists that more is needed.
The group is advocating for additional paid training placements in regional areas and allowing provisional psychologists to work with clients experiencing lower-level mental illness, thereby reducing the required six years of study.
Currently, around 8,000 provisional psychologists are seeking greater support.
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