Mental health clinics open to public at USC’s Thompson Institute

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USC Psychology Clinic Director Dr Dixie Statham (left) with USC Psychology students Danielle Welch, Amanda Kuchel and Julie Paschke

The University of the Sunshine Coast Psychology Clinic, which has assessed and treated members of the public for almost 10 years at its Sippy Downs campus, is now open at USC’s Thompson Institute at Birtinya.

Clinic Director Dr Dixie Statham said the relocation to the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute would have significant benefits for the public and for USC’s capacity to provide excellent clinical teaching and research opportunities for students and staff.

USC’s new Counselling Clinic has become the second clinic to start operating from the three-storey institute at 12 Innovation Parkway. It is giving final-year Master of Counselling students the opportunity to support the local community through free services.

The world-class mental health facility now taking shape was established last year after USC bought the building with a donation from philanthropists Roy and Nola Thompson. It will be a teaching, research and clinical hub focused on issues such as depression and dementia.

Dr Statham, who is also Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, said students in the Master of Professional Psychology and Master of Psychology (Clinical) programs were now able to complete their fifth year clinical work in the expanded facilities on the ground floor, and attend lectures and work on their research in state-of-the-art facilities on the first floor.

“This move is allowing us to expand our clinical services to the public and increase our research capacity, which will also help our clients through new knowledge and improved interventions and treatments,” she said.

“Students are supervised by six staff who are clinical psychologists as well as full-time academics at the University.”

The purpose-built Psychology Clinic has four rooms and is open five days a week from 9am to 5pm. Patients are referred by their GP or mental health professional, or they can self-refer and call to request an appointment.

“We’ll be able to offer 1,000 appointments a year, still at no cost to our clients,” said Dr Statham. “The most common problems we work with are anxiety, depression, stress and substance use.”

USC Senior Lecturer Dr Mark Pearson, who coordinates the Counselling program, said the new Counselling Clinic was overseen by experienced supervisors and used evidence-based techniques such as mindfulness, expressive therapies, and solution-focused brief therapy.

“Adults, adolescents and children can access ongoing support for concerns including feeling anxious or depressed, life transitions, interpersonal challenges, grief, bereavement, stress,” Dr Pearson said.

Thompson Institute Director Professor Jim Lagopoulos said the building offered researchers and clinicians the latest in technology and facilities. He expected external specialist medical clinics to join the USC clinics as the fitout continued next year.

“It’s important that our frontline clinics address the disorders and conditions which are overrepresented on the Sunshine Coast compared to the national average,” he said.

“These include youth mental health issues, dementia and ageing, cognitive impairments, and stress including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

To contact the USC Psychology Clinic call 5459 4514 or email psychology@usc.edu.au

For further information go to http://www.usc.edu.au/explore/usc-locations/usc-clinics/psychology-clinic

 
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