A NARRABRI woman has returned home to open the region’s only psychology practice after realising “the serious lack of resources for mental health support” across the North West.
Malinda Guest, born and raised in Narrabri, is a clinical psychologist who opened Boundless Psychology in Narrabri last week, offering face-to-face sessions from her Narrabri practice, as well as Skype sessions to service the broader region.
Ms Guest has worked in both public and private health settings, with considerable experience working with adolescents, adults, older people and couples.
The business idea stems back to April of this year, when the government announced Medicare funding for teleheatlh services, as well as identifying a dire need for mental health services in the bush.
“I have always been aware of the need for more services in these areas and it wasn’t until I was working as a psychologist in the Community Mental Health Team in Narrabri did I realise the serious lack of resources for mental health support,” she said.
“I always wanted to find a way to bring mental health services to these communities without the extensive wait lists, hassle, or large financial costs.”
Ms Guest also sees a growing need for a mental health service in the region, as attitudes towards the subject slowly start to change in rural and remote Australia. People are becoming more inclined to reach out for help when they need it.
“It’s slowly starting to change,” Ms Guest said.
“However, word of mouth is still the most valuable resource out there.
“If someone has access to a service like this or has had therapy and told someone else about it, then that could help (someone else).
“Country people have a high level of resilience and an attitude of getting on with it, however, it has its downsides.”
Ms Guest said Boundless Psychology was set up to service the entire region, including remote areas like Wee Waa, Moree, Rowena, and Burren Junction through the Skype sessions.
“With the Skype sessions, people can receive confidential high-quality psychological care and treatment in the privacy of their home or office – even out in the paddock,” she said.
“Having sessions with Boundless Psychology means less time and expenses spent driving to receive specialised care.
“My hopes are the services will be welcomed so we can bring other psychologists on board.”
From November 1, Medicare now offers rebates of $124.50 per session for telehealth (Skype) psychology sessions for those residing in rural and remote regions of Australia.
Medicare rebates for face-to-face sessions will also be $124.50 per session.
“It makes the service really affordable,” Ms Guest said.
“Boundless Psychology will be working with those who don’t require levels of care such as hospitalisation.
“Its working with those who are maintaining work, a family, and friends, but struggling behind closed doors.
“Depression, anxiety, stress, relationship struggles, trauma, and grief and loss impact us all – Boundless Psychology gives those the support needed to start looking after themselves today.”