For over ten years, Rachael H has been practicing psychology in the Penrith CBD. After her adult daughter left home last June, Rachael moved to Sydney’s Inner West for a new start. Her practice, however, was less mobile. After months of commuting over three hours each day, Rachael needed a change and she used Nabo to make it.
Rachael joined Nabo in November of last year to meet new friends and learn more about her new community. After living in the Lower Blue Mountains for several years, Newtown’s proximity to the city and abundance of businesses and services is a real boon to Rachael.
“The ease of being able to travel is wonderful too,” she said.
Currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Trauma, Dissociation and Maladaptive Daydreaming full time and sick of the daily, three hour commute, Rachael needed to relocate her practice to Newtown, but didn’t know if there would be clients in need of her services.
“My intention was to get feedback from local people, about whether my service would be utilised,” said Rachael.
As a member of the Nabo Newtown community, Rachael thought posting there would be a great way to easily capture local interest from her neighbours. In January, she made a post to Nabo users in the Inner West. “If I was to set up a bulk bill psychology service, is there a need in Newtown for this service?”
Within two days of posting on Nabo, the responses flurried in, and the answer was resounding and unequivocal, “yes!”
“I think the community would benefit hugely from such a service”, one neighbour wrote.
A second user stated, “I know dozens of friends and colleagues who could make use of this service.”
“The area definitely needs it, ” another agreed.
Rachael kept her feelers extended exclusively in Nabo so she could just speak to people within her local community. “I am wanting to keep the response levels manageable,” Rachel explains, “[keeping] Newtown low-key, with a small caseload, allows me to still do my Ph.D.”
According to Rachael, “the cost of appointments is the largest barrier [in accessing mental health services].” Almost half of the appointment costs are paid to the organisations that provide offices to the psychologist.
“As I work for myself, and have a large room at the rear of my property, my costs are lowered and I can afford to offer some bulk bill places.”
When not taking her dog, Cassi, for walks through Newtown or completing her Ph.D., Rachael is busy wrapping up her practice in Penrith and hopes to be operating exclusively in the Inner West by June this year. Her practice is a welcome addition to the area, with fewer than a handful of psychologists offering bulk bill services. In conjunction with connecting with local GPs, Nabo is essential to informing the community that mental health services are available to them.
“[It] is very important for the community to see who is in their area, their specialities and fees.”
Rachael’s practice, White Rose Psychology, is a welcome addition to the Inner West hub and Rachael was thrilled by the response she received from her neighbours. “The great feedback I got was very encouraging”, she said. Also encouraging, we imagine, is the removal of that three hour commute!
Do you have a story like Rachael's? Or do you know other examples of Nabo members spurring community action? Let us know!