25 March 2022
Beyond Blue launched the free online service in 2020 to help people aged 18-90 to manage their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
Last financial year, more than 550 clients accessed the Mind Australia service, with one in three of those under the age of 30.
The service will be expanded in April to meet demand and provide support to clients aged 16 and over.
Mind partnered with Beyond Blue to provide counselling services for those experiencing severe mental distress and require ongoing support to manage their wellbeing as a response to COVID-19.
Mind provides short-term support including up to five counselling sessions provided via Telehealth or video call. Clients are also provided with information regarding local support services so they can continue to be supported to maintain their mental health and wellbeing.
Mind’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is delivered by a multidisciplinary team that includes occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers and counsellors.
Practice Lead Brylee Hemming said the pandemic had shifted perceptions about mental health.
“I think the pandemic has played a big role in normalising support options out there for people, and that it’s okay to reach out if you aren’t travelling too well,” Ms Hemming said.
“Being able to be with someone at the start of their mental health and recovery journey, and showing them that it’s normal and okay to need support is one of the most special things about my job.
“Our staff have differing backgrounds so we can match clients with the appropriate clinicians so they can get the most out of the service.
“I have the opportunity to work with so many people; I might start the day working with a young female in Melbourne who is out of work, then later on I’ll be supporting an elderly person in Queensland who has just lost their partner.”
Mind’s customer satisfaction analysis shows that clients referred by Beyond Blue have a positive experience with the service, with almost 90 per cent of clients agreeing or strongly agreeing that their needs were met, they felt safe and listened to, and support was delivered in an appropriate timeframe.
Client Joanna* said she would have been lost without the support.
“It was a fantastic service. It really helped me out when I was in a hugely difficult time with no other support and it made the world of difference to me until I could be linked in with a therapist in my hometown,” she said.
“It was hugely beneficial to me and without it I would not have been able to stay afloat.”
Beyond Blue Chief Services Officer Alastair Stott said the “digital-first” service had been critical to helping Australians navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
“Having identified the need for a stepped model of care that supported people experiencing low, medium or high levels of distress, we partnered with Mind Australia to ensure those with severe mental distress could access the right support at the right time,” Mr Stott said.
Mind CEO Gill Callister said the Beyond Blue partnership had provided “much-needed interventions to people experiencing severe mental distress” before their mental health deteriorated to the point where they may require critical support or a hospital admission.
“The pandemic has challenged us all in different ways, but it’s great to see some silver linings emerge, including recognition for how valuable services like Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service can be,” Ms Callister said.
“Together, we have been able to deliver early intervention-based support to people all over Australia and reduce the need for acute support later on when things may have deteriorated significantly.”
*Joanna’s name has been changed.