Perceived need for neuropsychological assessment according to geographic location

A survey of Australian youth mental health clinicians

Garance Delagneau, Stephen C. Bowden, Kristi van-der-EL, Shayden Bryce, Matthew Hamilton, Sophie Adams, Liz Burgat, Eoin Killackey, Debra Rickwood, Kelly Allott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent studies have shown that neuropsychological assessment is a scarce resource in youth mental health settings. The need for neuropsychological assessment might differ in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas due to characteristics inherent to these different regions. However, no formal studies have investigated this question. The aim of this research was to investigate whether need for neuropsychological assessment in youth mental health settings varies by geographic location. A cross-sectional online survey was completed by clinicians (N = 532) treating or assessing adolescents and young adults attending Australian primary care mental health (headspace) centers. Results indicated a similar need for neuropsychological assessment across the geographic areas. However, neuropsychological assessment was significantly less available to clients in outer regional, remote and very remote areas compared to major cities. Exploratory analyses further revealed that there were significantly fewer clinicians with a postgraduate degree and more clinicians with a bachelor degree in outer regional, remote and very remote areas than in major cities. Given the negative impact of cognitive impairments in youth with a mental illness, these findings reveal a necessity to enhance the availability and access to neuropsychological assessment in rural settings. Several plausible avenues to achieving increased access include increasing the funding available for this resource; providing nonmetropolitan clinicians with sufficient neuropsychological consultation, including rural training and rotations in neuropsychologists’ postgraduate training; and exploring the use of tele-health in the provision of neuropsychological assessments in nonmetropolitan settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Child
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2019


Cite this