University of Notre Dame Australia is launching new undergraduate and postgraduate psychology courses at its Fremantle and Sydney campuses to help meet the mental health needs of Australians and build the capacity of the psychology workforce.
Mental illness is Australia’s leading chronic health condition, with one-in-five (approximately 5 million people) battling mental health issues each year.
Despite this, a survey by the Australian Psychological Society found one in three psychologists were so busy they had to close their books to new clients last year. Clients were often waiting up to three months to see a psychologist, with some people waiting more than six months for treatment for mental illness.
Starting in Semester 2 2023, Notre Dame will offer a three-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. A one-year Honours in Psychology and one-year Master of Professional Psychology will launch in 2024.
The courses will put students on the path to becoming registered psychologists so they can help meet the skyrocketing demand in the industry.
Notre Dame School of Sciences Senior Lecturer Madelyn Geldenhuys said the university was excited to launch the courses and help address the chronic workforce shortage.
“There is a huge demand for psychologists in Australia brought about by a widely documented national shortage of psychologists and an increase in mental health problems in the last decade,” she said.
“In my own experience working in a private practice, we had waitlists of between four and six weeks. As a result, many people don’t have access to much-needed professional help.
“We are in a key position to make a difference at Notre Dame. We have counselling, a medical school with links to hospital environments and research, and the infrastructure in place to add psychology programs.”