From April 1, 2020, St.LukesHealth will introduce benefits for counselling services, encouraging members to access mental health support and intervention services as early as possible.
Previously, members could only access benefits for mental health if they sought the services of a clinical psychologist.
The introduction of this service comes after the 2019 Tasmanian Health Report snapshot confirmed there had been an increase in those aged 25 to 34 accessing mental health services in the past 12 months.
“We know that when people need help or access to a health professional, they need the assistance now and not in six weeks’ time,” St.LukesHealth CEO Paul Lupo said.
“The 2019 snapshot reinforced that to relieve pressures and help our health system, we need to support our young people and their families to form life-long healthy habits so they don’t become the chronically ill of tomorrow.
“Data suggests that mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are on the rise. Since the introduction of the psychiatric care waiting period exemption in April 2018, a proportion of members have used this to access urgent care, which is positive to see, but we still need to continue to support these individuals and assist them prior to needing inpatient (hospital) mental health services.
"We are extremely proud that we have acted on the data and are able to support our members with the introduction of counselling benefits."
In addition to this, St.LukesHealth will offer those members who register their pregnancy with the fund the opportunity to access iCope screening.
The iCope digital screening ensures that every mother is provided with the right support for mental health during the perinatal period.
The tool is part of the Nourish Baby Program that St.LukesHealth will unveil to expectant families shortly.
The Nourish Baby program is designed to educate and support a member throughout their pregnancy journey.
Parents will learn about their options and choices for antenatal care through to labour, developmental milestones after birth, immunisation and what to expect in the toddler years.
The program is Australian Council on Healthcare Standards EQuIP6 accredited and Nourish Baby works with a team of health professionals to create and publish relevant and up-to-date content.