Keeping your finger on the pulse

SQRH supports psychology students to deliver mental healthcare in South Burnett

Date - 8 April 2020

Southern Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) is working with South Burnett Psychologist Lainie Nicholson to reduce waiting lists for private mental health care in the region.

SQRH Psychology Clinical Educator Michelle Aniftos and Lainie Nicholson are piloting a project where University
of Queensland and University of Southern Queensland psychology students contact clients via telehealth studios
from Toowoomba.

“The students gather client history information, do some baseline assessments and provide some initial counselling. Under Michelle’s supervision, the students provide a summary report and recommendations for a Senior Psychologist to progress.

“We’re proud to have initiated this concept as not only are we providing a valuable learning experience for students, we are part of a project that will help increase mental health services in rural areas,” she said.

UQ psychology student Joshua Santin said the telehealth work was rewarding and he gained satisfaction in knowing he was already helping people.

“Our placement is really diverse – two days a week we deliver face to face services at a local health service provider and we’re also part-time at the SQRH telehealth service. Having this opportunity to use telehealth equipment to provide services gives us more insight into current rural mental health issues,” Joshua said.

Psychologist Lainie Nicholson said early results of the pilot project were very promising and since this was her first experience of student supervision she was delighted with outcomes so far.

Michelle Aniftos said in further good news, Lainie recently advertised a telehealth provider position as part of her practice and announced that Joshua is the successful applicant.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for our pilot project!” she said.

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