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Mental illness in Australia is extremely common. Figures show one in five of us aged between 16-85 experiences a mental illness in any 12-month period.

Almost half (45 percent) of us will experience a mental illness in our lifetime.

It is a fact that 54 percent of people with mental illness do not seek treatment. Of those who do seek treatment, most show notable signs of improvement.

For those suffering from mental illness, often taking that very first step is the hardest. The physical act of making a phone call to book a consultation with a healthcare professional can be a very sizeable impediment.

Yet, the ramifications of not booking an appointment can be dire.

Studies show that people are at their most vulnerable at night which is also outside of business hours. So, even if they wanted to book an appointment with a healthcare professional, they can’t do it until the next day. The result? People turn to self-medication or panic which often exacerbates their situation.

Enter MyHealth1st (ASX:1ST)

 

For the first time, psychologists, via MyHealth1st, are being brought to the public in a big way.

Not only can those seeking treatment now find a psychologist in their local area – but they can book an appointment with their preferred service provider at any time of the day.

The deal announced today, with Benestar, will bring the MyHealth1st platform to about 2,600 psychologists across Australia with potential for all of the country’s 57,000 psychologists to join at some point.

People can see psychologists either via their GP (a referral and mental health plan that is supported by Medicare) or by booking directly. The platform will allow both a GP and a patient to find and book a health professional more easily.

The current process is that if a patient wants the Medicare benefit, they must get a GP referral first. The appointment though still requires the patient after they see their GP to take that next step and book an appointment. Again, most don’t.

Simplifying access and allowing the appointment to be booked via the discretion of a keyboard makes the entire process much easier.

Under the deal, Benestar will fund the setup, initially for 2,600 psychologists across Australia onto MyHealth1st, targeting on-boarding by the end of July this year. In reality, any of the 57,000 psychologists in Australia can also join the MyHealth1st Platform and benefit from the opportunity.

1st Group Managing Director, Klaus Bartosch, said, “I’m grateful to Benestar for the opportunity to provide deeper support to the mental health sector. Enabling early intervention is key to our focus as a company. With 20 percent of Australians suffering from mental illness each year, it is high time that we did something to help make the process much easier for patients.”

Now that is peace of mind.

This content is produced in commercial partnership with 1st Group. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.