Mary is a motivated Clinical Psychologist and has a passion for helping others. Mary enjoys being a Psychologist and seeing people overcome major hurdles in their lives. She manages an online psychology practice PsychHelp which offers Telehealth based psychological services and also conducts research examining an online parenting program called BetterBonds which aims to build better relationships between parents and children. Mary has an active interest in making psychology services more accessible for people, so both of these projects are working towards that goal. She believes that everyone should be able to access psychological information, help and support easily and feels strongly that people in rural and remote areas and other people who struggle to attend appointments should have easy access via Telehealth to a Psychologist.
Mary is a strong advocate of research-based decision making and is trained in evidence-based techniques such as behaviour modification, the circle of security, dialectical behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, and trauma focussed therapies. Mary also has an interest in interpersonal neurobiology, which examines the brain in the context of attachments or relationships. She has been able to observe the positive results these techniques can achieve and is a strong advocate of working collaboratively with people to achieve positive results. Mary believes people can recover from mental health issues and go on to live happy and satisfying lives.
What led you to begin a career in psychology?
There were a number of threads that came together to led me to Psychology. The main two were:
1) I found people often came to me and told me about hard times they had experienced, and I decided I wanted to be better able to help them
2) I have a number of family members and friends that are in helping professions, so I knew what would be involved with a career in Psychology.
What motivated you to want to be a part of YUMM!’s mental health resources?
I believe that mental health resources should be easily accessible to everyone. I also believe the internet is a great way to increase accessibility. I love that YUMM! is developing resources and so I wanted to contribute to this as it’s an important cause that can help people live happier and healthier lives.
Why is mental health awareness and education so important to you?
I believe knowledge can give you the power to change. With information people who are experiencing mental illness can recover or manage their symptoms. It also helps their families, friends and carers understand what is happening for them and how they may be able to help.
Can you tell us a bit about your business PsychHelp?
PsychHelp is an online telehealth-based psychology practice. We have Psychologists from across Australia and offer video-therapy. Video therapy is similar to in-person therapy, but you can connect with your Psychologist from the comfort of your own home or office.
What motivated you to create PsychHelp?
Having previously worked in public health I realised people wanted more flexibility and confidentiality. The time and effort it takes to go into a Psychology Clinic can be a barrier for some people to accessing mental health services and PsychHelp removes these challenges. I also realised that people in rural and remote areas of Australia often struggle to access Psychological services and so I wanted to help meet the need for Psychological Services in these areas. The government has opened up Medicare funding for rural and remote communities and the goal of PsychHelp is to make accessing a Psychologist simple and straightforward.
What are the benefits of online therapy?
Research has found online or telehealth based therapies can be as effective as face to face therapy for a wide range of mental health concerns. It is also more convenient and gives the person seeking therapy control over when and where they access their Psychologist. It’s like having a Psychologist come to your own home or office. Appointments can be booked online easily, and you can choose a time and date that suits you.
How do you think organisations like YUMM! can help young Australians and prevent the onset of mental illness?
Education is important because with knowledge people are less likely to develop mental health concerns. If people have already developed mental health problems with knowledge they can more easily and quickly recover.
Tell us about your experiences with mental health?
Having worked in mental health for 15 years I have seen people with a lot of different mental health issues. My biggest take away from these experiences is that regardless of diagnosis people with mental illness have had many difficult experiences and have not had the resources internally or in terms of external support to process these.
If someone was interested in seeing a psychologist, what would you suggest they do first?
Go to the PsychHelp site www.Psychhelp.com.au and book an appointment.
Figure out what funding options are available for you. There are many places to get funding assistance to access Psychological services which include Medicare, Dept of Veteran Affairs, Private Health, and Employee Assistance.
Contacting your GP is also a great place to start to develop a mental health care plan which allows you to access Medicare rebates.