A coroner has called for an expansion of a mental health services in regional areas following the death of a Wangaratta woman.
The 65-year-old woman was found dead in her Hardisty Street home on August 27, 2018.
She had experienced depression for about 20 years and had been admitted for mental health treatment 18 days before her death.
The former New Zealand resident chose to stop her medication in April 2018 and refused a treatment plan.
She was referred to a private psychologist for cognitive behavioural therapy.
The woman reported suicidal ideation in June and was unable to be contacted by the Older Persons Mental Health Service on four separate days.
She was taken to the Alfred Hospital the following month after being burnt and had several sessions with a psychologist before being referred to North East services.
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Her family members raised concerns which were examined by coroner Leveasque Peterson.
Concerns were raised about delays in the late woman seeing the Older Persons Mental Health Service psychiatrist and referral to a psychologist, and a lack of inpatient counselling.
It was noted it usually took two to three weeks to engage private psychologists with "extensive" wait times for free community services.
"There was limited access to private psychologists in Wangaratta," Ms Peterson said.
"It is also apparent that the private psychologists had extensive waitlists and heightened demands, with one psychologist not accepting any new referrals until the following year."
She found the access to programs, therapists and psychologists inside the Kerferd Unit at Wangaratta was appropriate, but the late woman had largely refused to attend sessions.
Ms Peterson found the care provided by Gateway Health doctors was also appropriate.
She said a lack of private access to psychologists for cognitive therapy should be addressed, noting many rural and remote communities had limited alternatives to public services.
She also said telehealth services should expand.
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