The Government has announced a tender for online and phone mental health services.
The full media release is below.
THE HON. MARK BUTLER MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Minister for Social Inclusion
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform
11 April 2012
BOOST TO MENTAL HEALTH HELP OVER THE PHONE OR ONLINE
More Australians living with anxiety or depression will soon be able to access the help and support that they need over the phone, or online, with $15.4 million made available today for telephone and web-based counselling programs.
As part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to better mental health services, the Department of Health and Ageing today issued an open and competitive Invitation to Apply for Funding (ITA) to suitably qualified organisations to deliver telephone counselling, self-help and web-based programs.
Services that might be funded include psycho-social help lines, online counselling, web-based self-help, peer support resources, self-directed online treatment programs and therapist- assisted treatment services.
The ITA will close on 15 May 2012.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the investment in telephone and web-based counselling demonstrated the Government’s commitment to providing innovative and accessible mental services to Australians no matter where they live.
“The nature of these services means therapy can be undertaken at a time that is convenient to the user and much of it can be done anonymously, which respects people’s privacy and helps reduce the stigma attached to seeking help,” Mr Butler said.
“They can also be accessed from home, removing the need for travel, and are therefore of particular benefit to people living in rural and remote areas, or who are unable to travel to obtain face-to-face services.”
Many of the telephone and web-based counselling services funded under this round and the new virtual clinic will be accessible through the Government’s mental health portal. The portal will provide consumers with a single site to access evidence-based online mental health and crisis support services—which is due to be up and running in mid 2012.
One-in-five Australians (3.2 million) aged between 16 and 85 years experience mental illness in any given year. Only one-third of them seek help. Evidence suggests that for those with mild to moderate disorders, online psychological services are effective.