Improve access to evidence-based psychological interventions for people with more complex high prevalence mental disorders

Reinstate the Better Access “exceptional circumstances” sessions

Funding cuts to the highly successful Better Access initiative have had a marked impact on the thousands of Australian who can no longer access the appropriate length of effective and cost-efficient psychological treatment.  There is evidence that the sessions of psychological treatment under “exceptional circumstances” that were cut from 1 January 2013 are effective and necessary for a substantial number of Better Access consumers.  The cuts have primarily affected people requiring additional treatment under “exceptional circumstances” for severe depression or anxiety disorders with significant additional complexities, and for people with more complex conditions such as eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.   These additional sessions should be available for individuals who meet defined and objective criteria.

The Australian Psychological Society seeks support from all political parties for the permanent reinstatement of the six Better Access “exceptional circumstances” sessions removed.  Reinstatement of the sessions would enable many thousands of Australians with serious but common mental health disorders to access the appropriate length of effective psychological treatment in a timely and effective manner.  These many thousands of Australians are currently denied access to effective psychological treatment, with a concomitant impact on family stress, productivity and hospital admissions.


For further details of this proposal, please contact the Australian Psychological Society

Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM, Executive Director

Dr Louise Roufeil, Executive Manager, Professional Practice (Policy)

Media Releases


The Age, 16 May 2016 – Drugs and counselling best mental illness fix


Campaign for maintenance of Better Access funding


Where do the parties stand?

The APS has asked for a response from the major political parties regarding the key issues. Party responses will be posted below, as we receive them:


Freezing of Medicare rebates

The APS supports the GP campaign against the continued freezing of indexation of Medicare rebates.

Emeritus Professor Gina Geffen AM FAPS