Child psychology help close to home

mental health boost at medicare local
mental health boost at medicare local

Perth South Coastal Medicare Local has recently recruited child psychologist Amy Baxter to work out of its Rockingham and Mandurah offices to help children aged up to 12 who need help.

Ms Baxter treats children who show symptoms of, or are at risk of developing, a mild to moderate mental, emotional or behavioural disorder that would benefit from short-term treatment.

She has a three-week waiting list and can help children overcome anxiety, depression, coping with stressful events, grief, low self-esteem, obsessions and problems with relationships and sleeping.

PSCML managing director Peter Cook said parents needed a referral from their GP to see Ms Baxter.

‘There was a lack of child psychology services in the region, so we appointed Amy as our first child-specific clinical psychologist,’ he said.

‘We are aware her case-load will increase and are endeavouring to broaden the service and add to the child mental health workforce in due course.

‘Employing Amy is a starting point, designed to complement the existing mental health services we are delivering across the area.’

PSCML employs 11 clinical psychologists, who can be seen with a GP referral.

Ms Baxter said she encouraged parents concerned about their child to seek help at the earliest opportunity.

‘Parents who access the service have the opportunity to make a difference in their child’s lives, before certain behaviours become ingrained,’ she said.

‘Child psychologists can assist children with school-related issues, behavioural issues like tantrums or dealing with death and divorce.

‘The importance of early intervention cannot be underestimated.’

Children with more complex mental health issues are referred to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services while children at immediate risk should go to a hospital emergency department.