Media release

16 May 2018

Australian mental health system ‘too complex’, research reveals

A majority (63%) of Australians suffering from mental health conditions believe the current mental healthcare system is too confusing and complex, leading many to consider giving up on treatment.

According to new research commissioned by MLC Life Insurance, a third of Australians with a mental health condition felt frustrated when trying to navigate the healthcare system. Seven in ten Australians who have sought help for a condition said it was a negative experience and over a third (36%) believed finding the right treatment was hard.

The research explores the challenges Australians with mental health conditions experience in seeking the right help.

72% of Australians say they are concerned about the cost of mental health treatment, while just under half (48%) expressed there were long wait times to receive treatment. Two in five (43%) said they had considered giving up treatment.

Professor Bernhard Baune Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide said “It’s deeply concerning to see how many people are feeling overwhelmed about how and where to seek help for mental health. The evidence shows that problems in detection and accurate diagnosis can lead to delayed or incorrect treatment, thereby worsening the condition in the long term. Finding the right support earlier is therefore paramount.”

In recognition of this important issue, MLC Life Insurance has partnered with Best Doctors to launch Mental Health Navigator, a service which provides a specialist, second medical opinion for customers experiencing a mental health condition, to give them the confidence that they have the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

The service is an extension of the life insurer’s current Best Doctors offering – which connects customers and their families, at no cost, with a network of 50,000 leading medical specialists, including clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, from Australia and around the world.

The 24/7 service connects customers with a mental health nurse, who is their point of contact throughout the whole process. Within 10 days of medical records being collected, customers take part in a video consultation with a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist, if required. The customer receives a report with a review of their diagnosis and a recommended treatment plan to help manage their condition.

MLC Life Insurance is the first provider to offer the service from Best Doctors in Australia, and the second life insurer globally.

David Hackett, Chief Executive Officer at MLC Life Insurance said,

“While we’re here to protect our customers financially, we also have an opportunity to support their health and wellbeing and give them confidence they are on the right path to improve their mental health. Mental Health Navigator is a specialist mental health service that we can offer to customers and their families and they don’t need to make an insurance claim to use it.”

Professor Baune continued:

“Mental Health Navigator adds a supportive layer to the current healthcare system, in addition to a customer’s GP or treating doctor. It brings together a multi-disciplinary team of specialists that is tailored to the individual’s situation. This expertise will be a valuable support to both individuals and their treating clinicians,” said Professor Baune.

MLC Life Insurance has partnered with Best Doctors since 2009 and offers the service to 800,000 eligible life insurance customers, their immediate families and its 1,400 permanent employees, effective from May this year.

For more information on Mental Health Navigator visit www.mlcinsurance.com.au/mentalhealthnavigator