web services can overcome the barriers that block access to mental health care, according to an article published in a Medical Journal of Australia supplement.
timely interventions: the impact of the internet on mental health
is the product of a partnership between the Centre for Mental Health Research
at the Australian National University and the Brain & Mind Research
Institute at the University of Sydney.
Helen Christensen, Director of the Centre for Mental Health Research, and Prof
Ian Hickie, Executive Director of the Brain & Mind Research Institute,
write that web-based mental health services have the capacity to not only
overcome traditional geographical, attitudinal and financial barriers to
accessing care, but also to lower overall delivery costs and reduce demands on
the clinical workforce.
significant national investment in e-mental health would not only give a real
boost to prevention and early intervention, it would also address the
fundamental lack of access to mental health services in this country," they
Christensen and Hickie said that in recent years, the proportion of Australian
adults with current mental health problems using traditional health care
services had not increased. This was despite the apparent success of public
awareness campaigns that promoted help seeking and some substantial changes in
primary care-based approaches to the provision of medical and psychological
reality, the structures, distribution and costs that currently underpin our
primary and secondary care services make them relatively unavailable to many of
those in need," Profs Christensen and Hickie said.
the strong arguments in favour of early intervention in youth mental health, it
is this group who are most neglected by the current arrangements.
contrast, young people with difficulties are increasingly seeking informal and
formal help online."
The Medical Journal of Australia
is a publication
of the Australian Medical Association.