General News Technology — 11 March 2014

Australian allied health professionals, mental health nurses and general practice nurses are being asked to share their views about online mental health services.

Australian National University’s Centre for Mental Health Research is conducting an online survey to gauge primary care nurses and allied health workers’ awareness and use of e-mental health.

The results of the 2014 e-Mental Health Support Service Survey will help forge the creation of new national training and promotional materials specifically designed for e-mental health resources.

The training will feature face-to-face workshops, online training modules and online discussion groups and webinars, which will also contribute to ongoing professional development points.young female doctor

The survey is part of the Australian Government’s national e-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) initiative, which aims to encourage the use of e-mental health resources in primary care.

Centre e-hub clinical services manager Julia Reynolds, a clinical psychologist, said the survey results will help deliver online resources for primary care health professionals and also people with mental health issues.

“The survey will help us understand what would most benefit clinicians,” she said.

“We are wanting to get a snapshot of health workers in primary care at the beginning of our program and get an understanding of what their awareness is of services, what is their use of services and what are the concerns and benefits, so that we can actually feed that back into the things that are going to be developed over the next three years.”

Ms Reynolds said the survey hoped to tap into the views of psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counsellors and community support workers as well as mental health nurses and practice nurses.

“General practice nurses are very often people’s first point of call,” she said.

“They might support people with their medication and have an ongoing relationship with the person, who might not see their GP as frequently.

“Allied health workers, such as physiotherapists and people who deal with pain conditions, might also see quite a few people who have depression and anxiety.”

Ms Reynolds, who is working on the project alongside eMHPrac clinical project officer Andrew Staniforth, said Australia is home to a range of online resources from peer support and information sites to online counselling programs.

“We are one of the very few countries in the world that has developed resources that far,” she said.

“This initiative is very important because it’s going to help workers who are already providing psychology services do more with the services they have, and provide free or low cost help for people who find it difficult to access traditional services, such as those in remote and rural areas.

“It’s also going to help people have access to really good, safe information.”

The survey is a collaboration between ANU, the Queensland University of Technology and the Black Dog Institute.

The survey, which takes between 15-20 minutes to complete, is the first of three annual surveys.

This article first appeared on Nursing Careers Allied Health on 10 March, 2014.

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