After moving back to Albury after nearly a decade I would say that I am completely shocked by the lack of mental health services that are available.
For example, when I moved back I had to find a new doctor and that turned out to be a stressful ordeal because I found it extremely hard to find a local GP who bulk bills. When I did attend one local medical service I found that the doctor’s English was so poor that I don’t think they could read a referral letter from my past doctor properly.
But the major problem I have when it comes to Albury is access to mental health services. I know many people here in Albury that suffer from mental health issues whether its in relation to a person grieving over a loved one, PTSD, marriage break-up, drugs and alcohol or due to a person experiencing extreme bullying at school or in the workplace – and this list just goes on.
What I found is that these problems do not discriminate individual people and can affect anyone at anytime in their life. So why is it that here in Albury when you wish to see a psychologist and you obtain a mental health plan that the majority of psychologists still require you to pay a gap and that gap fee is anywhere between $60 to $80.
I am sorry but who can afford that if they are not working? That gap fee can be the difference between someone eating for a week or not. Psychologists have worked very hard to get to where they have gotten and are entitled to charge whatever they like but where are the services available to people who can not afford this? Where can they get help?
The only place I am aware of is Albury Community Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services, which is a fantastic place, and the workers are very dedicated and beautiful. ACMHS however does not offer long-term sessions with a psychologist and to get any help, you have to through a phone interview to assess how severe your crises is. If it is deemed not severe then you wait your turn to been seen.
I cannot believe this is the case considering suicide is at its highest rate. There needs to be more mental health services and they need to be accessible not just to the wealthy but to all classes.
I would really like to know where all the funding goes for the health services because its not visible in the local community and people are paying for this lack of service not with dollars but with their physical and mental health.
Embrace our freedom
I write in repose to Breck Scott-Young (‘Something to Ponder’, The Border Mail letters, February 10).
If we jailed people in Australia for wearing a hijab, we are behaving as the Muslim countries you referred to in your letter do. Which means, you believe that what happens in these countries is right – which I don’t think was your point. Rather than behaving the same as a country which forces its citizens and visitors to follow strict religious policies, perhaps be happy and embrace the fact that we live in a country in which freedom of religion exists.
So in response to your question – ‘how would it be if we jailed them for covering up?’ – I will tell you. Since Australia is a country based on Christianity, what you are suggesting is that we develop policies in which people who don’t follow and live by strict Christian standards and values are jailed. If this was the case, the majority of Australians would be in prison.