Canberra will not have enough school psychologists to meet the demand of students with mental health issues by the time it has finished hiring in 2020.
Last year, the ACT Government committed to employ an additional 20 school psychologists over three years — one of the recommendations made in the Shaddock review, the report launched after the discovery that a boy with autism had been kept in a cage at a Canberra primary school.
That review determined there were not enough psychologists to help the growing number of students with challenging behaviours or mental health issues.
It recommended the number of psychologists needed to be “substantially” increased, so that there was at least one school psychologist for every 500 students in Canberra.
But figures released through that estimates process show by the time the additional 20 psychologists are employed, the projected ratio will have swelled back to one psychologist per 622 students as schools will have grown in the three years since the measure was committed to.
Lack of professionals could make mental health issues worse
The head of the Psychologists Association in the ACT and school psychologist, Rosie Jovanovic, said students were already falling through the gaps.
“There’s a far greater increase in acute presentations,” she said.
– Jake Evans
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