PARENTS with children experiencing a mental health issue may have difficulty finding help close to home.
But Perth South Coastal Medicare Local has recently recruited child psychologist Amy Baxter (nee Burgoyne) to work at its Rockingham and Mandurah offices, in a bid to help children needing help.
Mrs Baxter treats children aged up to 12 years 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.
“There was a lack of child psychology services in the region, so we appointed Amy as our first child-specific clinical psychologist,” Mr Cook said.
“We are aware her caseload 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.
Mrs Baxter 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.
“The importance of early intervention cannot be underestimated.”