If We're Not Increasing Access To Help, We're Not Serious About Mental Health

If you're ignoring the obvious solution, maybe you're not interested in a solution at all.

NOTE: This article contains discussion of mental health issues.

It’s a good thing that people are getting serious about mental health. Or at least, talking about getting serious about mental health seriously.

But until we actually see some improvements to Medicare’s coverage for people seeking help then we should assume that talking about it is all that’s going to happen.

Think of it this way: say a large population of Australians are trapped in a room full of snakes and the federal government of the day announces that they’re serious about reducing the unacceptable and tragic incidence of snakebite.

Fair question.

And then that all of the solutions they suggest are about incentivising not being bitten by snakes, or starting a conversation about why snakebites are bad, or at best providing funding for an online snakebite crisis line for people who need to talk about the venom that’s travelling through their bloodstream.

And then when finally someone asks “hey, how about we get the people out, or at least remove the more aggressive snakes from the room?” they’re accused of politicising the issue, or pointing out that this would blow out the budget for the Department of Snakes And Other Bitey Reptiles, and that we need to snake within our means.

That’s kind of where we are with mental health. Everyone agrees that suicide is a huge problem, especially among young men, and that people are struggling to access limited help under the current system.

And yet, the government is not saying – for example – “Medicare will now cover unlimited access to mental health services, and there will be an active attempt to bring more services and health care professionals available to those that need them” – a move which would immediately and directly help people and go some way to addressing our national mental health crisis.

At the moment if you need mental health services Medicare will provide subdidies for six sessions with a psychologist in a single calendar year.

If you need more – which for people in crisis is a given – it’s possible to get another four if your GP OKs it. After that, it’s up to you.

This doesn’t cover the full cost of sessions – sessions typically cost between about $200 and $600 and Medicare typically covers about 60 per cent of that depending on the length and nature of the consultation – and there’s definitely a wait ahead once you’ve found a doc that can see you. Psychiatrists don’t have a limit, but they’re more expensive.

In a big city that might be as little as four weeks. In a smaller ones, three to six months. In rural or remote areas, it’s telehealth or nothing.

And it should be pointed out that the government is spending record amounts on Medicare and mental health. Of course, since the population is constantly increasing and health is getting more pricey, that’s a great way of making it sound like progress regardless of whether actual service provision is getting better.

And there’s no way of discussing mental health without acknowledging that government decisions strongly impact people’s ability to cope.

We know that poverty and mental health are connected. We know that LGBTIQ+ youth are bullied and commit self-harm at a higher rate. We know that people subjected to domestic violence suffer higher rates of traumatic mental abuse.

So if a government is cutting services to women’s shelters, programmes like Safe Schools and engaging in a “robodebt” system where Centrelink recipients are forced to prove they don’t owe the government money, it’s as though the government are actively releasing more snakes into the room.

There are enough snakes. It’s time to desnake the place – and there’s an obvious first step staring us in the face.

If you need to talk to someone, you can call Lifeline on 131114.

Robert Pattinson Says He Smells Like A Crayon And I Need To Know Which Colour

Another wild yarn from R-Patz.

Robert Pattinson has gained quite a reputation for spinning wild yarns during interviews, but his most recent comments on his body odour have me truly shaken.

In a recent interview with Allure the star of the upcoming The Batman film said, “Lots of people tell me I smell like a crayon.”

The interviewer – understandably bewildered by this statement – then asked, “Like you’re made of wax?”

To which R-Patz responded, “Yes! Like I’m embalmed.”

I have so many questions. What colour crayon does Pattinson smell like? What brand? Is he using lots of crayons? And most importantly, who are these multiple people who are telling him he smells like crayon!? Is that an insult, or a compliment?

It’s not the first time Robert Pattinson’s scent has come up in conversation. Back in 2009, E! News reported that an unidentified source who worked “very closely” with the actor on New Moon said “he stinks.”

“I mean, it’s awful,” the source said. “He never showers, and it drives people on the set crazy.”

“He completely reeks,” an unidentified crew member added. Yikes.

It’s been over a decade since then, so we can only hope Robert Pattinson has swapped his lack of showering for an obsession with crayons. 

Speaking of celebrity scents, celebrity tattoo artist Lauren Winzer dishes on what Post Malone smells like on It’s Been A Big Day For…below:

During his interview with Allure, Pattinson was also asked about being recently named the “most handsome man” in the world according to science.

“It’s weird,” he said. “I never was really up for the good-looking-guy roles, because I’ve always been quite awkward when meeting people.”

“My Harry Potter role was a good-looking guy, and it was a shock that it was quite easy to get. And then in Twilight, [Edward is] beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. When I turned up for the auditions, I had done a job where I’d dyed my hair black, because I had an inch and a half of roots, and I had waxed my body. And then I had a few months where I’d been drinking beer all day, so I had this hairless, chubby body. I looked like a baby with a wig on.”

Hairless, chubby, waxed or smelling like a crayon – we’ll take Robert Pattinson any which way.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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