Building an e-toolkit to promote good mental health in rural and remote areas

C Rogers, H Sturk, A White, D Kavanagh, D Sanders

1Queensland University of Technology, Lvl 6, 62 Graham Street, South Brisbane, Q 4101, carla.rogers@qut.edu.au

Background:

The past decade has seen significant growth in the use of information and communication technology to support and improve mental health care in Australia. E-mental health is the use of technology to deliver mental health information and support services for a range of health issues including depression, anxiety, stress and substance use. E-mental health services provide assessment, treatment and support through telephone, mobile phone, computer and online applications. They range from the provision of health information and peer support services, through to delayed or real-time interactions with practitioners trained to assist people experiencing mental health issues. These prevention or intervention programs and applications can be self directed or guided and used either independently or as an adjunct to face-to-face support services. The accessibility of the e-mental health approach to provide cost effectiveness support and assistance to anyone, any time, anywhere, is a significant advantage particularly for people in rural and remote regions. Furthermore, the potentially anonymous nature of such services makes e-mental health options ideal for people who are reluctant to use face-to-face mental health services for reasons of stigma or preference.

Method:

This paper explores the range of e-mental health resources available to both health practitioners and consumers alike, and uses an interactive approach to showcase a number of e-tools that promote good mental health.

Discussion:

The e-mental health approach holds significant promise to optimise and enhance the mental health and wellbeing, especially in rural and remote areas where access to services is an on-going challenge.

Biography

Dr Carla Rogers is a psychologist with nearly 20 years experience in the field of health research and education, and over five years in private clinical practice.   She has an interest in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and is particularly interested in the integration of e-mental health tools and resources into clinical treatment options, especially within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  Dr Rogers presently holds the position of Senior Training Faciliatator at the Queensland University of Technology on the eMHPrac project.