The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) welcomes the Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’s final report that recognises “the full spectrum of allied health professionals, including physiotherapists … and their contribution to the mental health workforce.”

APA National President Scott Willis said the APA’s position statement mirrors the report’s findings, supporting the push for holistic treatment of mental health, and noted that the multidisciplinary approach to mental health is key to treating an individual.

“The Committee’s report is a major breakthrough in finally acknowledging and seeing the importance of a publicly funded and coordinated multidisciplinary approach to mental health, which includes physiotherapy,” Mr Willis said.

“High-quality mental health care requires a team of healthcare professionals, working together to address the multiple factors affecting an individual’s mental health, which can include managing pain, comfort and physical capacity.

“The report validates what we have been telling the Government for years; that mental health treatment does not rest solely with psychologists and psychiatrists. Access to holistic, high-quality care delivered by other disciplines is critical.”

The Committee’s report references the APA’s comprehensive submission to the inquiry and Mr Willis’ evidence to the Select Committee in July on multiple occasions, solidifying and emphasising the APA’s position that allied health be fully integrated into the mental health workforce, through:

  • providing funding or incentives to increase the availability of discipline-specific supervision to expand the number of places for allied health professionals wanting to specialise in mental health;
  • recognising the full spectrum of allied health professionals, including physiotherapists … and their contribution to the mental health workforce as allied health professionals in the final National Mental Health Workforce Strategy and subsequent implementation plans; and
  • developing and implementing a strategy to promote the mental health-related interventions that allied health professionals can offer.

“The Select Committee has been very clear that significant investment is critical in order to give patients access to the best possible care and clinicians the tools to deliver it,” Mr Willis said.

The APA’s call for primary health networks’ organisational capacity to be further resourced, in order to support greater collaboration between primary health care providers in managing mental illness and pain, is also supported by the Select Committee.

“The APA welcomes the Committee’s call for acknowledging and addressing the social determinants of health, and the push towards utilising digital technology to increase and improve mental health care,” Mr Willis said.



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