MP wants regional Australians to watch their mental health

THE Federal Government is encouraging regional Australians to make use of the mental health help on offer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton said people should get in touch with their GP, mental allied health practitioner, or get online to access help if needed.

"Right across rural, regional and remote Australia, there is a lot of extra pressure on individuals, families and communities - but help is available," he said.

"I have a simple message for people living in rural, regional and remote Australia - reach out for help if you feel stress or anxiety is getting on top of you.

"There is a range of mental health services available which people can access, whether it is via telehealth or by face-to-face, it's vitally important that people continue to seek treatment for illnesses and to manage their health."

Patients with a mental health treatment plan can access Medicare rebates for up to 10 individual and 10 group allied mental health services each year with a GP, psychologist, social worker, or occupational therapist.

"Regional doctors, nurses and other health professionals are also under additional pressure as they care for and provide services to our communities, and I urge them to keep in mind their own health and safety as they work through this pandemic," Mr Coulton said.

"Our regional health professionals continue to provide an essential service to rural, regional and remote communities through COVID-19 and we need to ensure they remain well and healthy too."

Mr Coulton said the government was paying for dedicated phone and online resources as part of a $74 million COVID-19 mental health fund.

"These additional services give regional Australians access to support when they need it, regardless of where they live," he said.

"Regional Australians are doing a great job of stopping the spread and COVID-19 positive case numbers remain low, therefore it's perfectly acceptable they seek face-to-face support from local health services."

If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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