Making high quality mental healthcare accessible for everyone

Australia’s mental health crisis

Australia’s mental health crisis

Australia is now in the grip of a mental health crisis, according to many of those working in the field. There’s great need in the community yet limited access to professional treatment. 

Nearly 60% of people seeking mental health support have been waiting more than 3 months, according to the June 2022 Australian Healthcare Index

A February 2022 survey by the Australian Psychological Society found that: 

  • 1 in 3 psychologists have had to close their books, compared to 1 in 100 before the pandemic
  • 75% of psychologists have waiting lists and are turning people away. 

That certainly tallies with our experience at The Talk Shop. As our CEO and founder, Matthew Vella explained in a recent news interview

“Our waiting list for bulk-billed appointments has grown continuously since the start of COVID and continues to grow. We don’t see it reducing anytime soon.”

That can certainly create a sense of pressure for psychologists. A busy caseload of current clients means hours on the job plus a great deal of paperwork afterwards. When your waiting list is months or even years long, it feels hard to take a sick day or go on holiday, even though you undoubtedly need the refreshment too. 

Mental health pressures

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that mental and behavioural conditions far eclipse other chronic conditions. Over 20% of Australians report difficulties with their mental health while just 10% are affected by asthma and only 5% live with diabetes. 

Living through a global pandemic has caused or exacerbated many different mental health pressures due to: 

  • A climate of fear in the early days
  • The stress of repeated lockdowns
  • COVID-related financial pressures
  • Parenting and relationship difficulties
  • Disrupted education
  • Separation from loved ones
  • Grief and loss 
  • Health difficulties – from COVID, long COVID, influenza, RSV or something else.

As 2020 gave way to 2021, we all hoped for a better year – but didn’t really get it. 

Then came 2022. 

We’ve dealt with the Omicron wave, widespread flooding, an influenza outbreak, more flooding, another COVID wave and now we’re grappling with the rising cost of living. 

Everything seems to be getting more expensive – interest rate rises, rent hikes and big increases at the supermarket checkout. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a 30% increase in the cost of baked beans and spaghetti in tomato sauce and a 20% increase in a pack of 8 sausages. These are not gourmet food items. They’re the everyday basics that many households rely on.   

Demand for bulk billing psychology appointments

Cost of living pressure is one of the drivers for the increased demand we’re seeing for bulk billed psychology appointments. 

The Talk Shop is Victoria’s largest private psychology practice offering bulk-billed appointments. We’ve always offered that option because we don’t want cost to be a barrier to care. 

Those appointments were always popular but our bulk billed waiting list has grown immensely. We’re adding new staff, we’re providing telehealth and we’re continuing to support our Clinicians by doing all their administration for them. 

As we’ve always done, we encourage our staff to take regular time off. Working in any caring profession right now is a marathon, not a sprint. We don’t want our Clinicians to end up burnt out, demoralised, overwhelmed and battling compassion fatigue. That’s why we offer a lot of flexibility and support. 

We’re on the hunt for several new Clinicians right now. You might choose to work in one of our clinics in the Melbourne CBD and suburbs or you might elect to work exclusively through telehealth, meaning you can work for us from anywhere in Australia. 

If you’re a Registered or Clinical Psychologist, please explore our jobs list. We have a number of opportunities available for Clinicians wanting to offer in-person consultations. 

We’d love to make contact with you and work together to support the many, many Australians in need of mental health care. 


All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The Talk Shop can consult with you to confirm if this treatment is right for you.