Politics Sector News Technology — 28 August 2014



Support for people living with mental illness and their family, friends and carers is the focus of two new online forums launched in Canberra today by the Minister for Health, Peter Dutton.

Minister Dutton said the SANE Australia Online Forums would help people by giving them trusted and anonymous access to reliable mental health information, advice and referrals.

“While almost half of the Australian population will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives, only 46 per cent of this group will seek any form of support or treatment,” Minister Dutton said.

“We know that there are many reasons that people do not seek treatment like a fear of being stigmatised, living too far from a medical practitioner and not knowing how to get information and care. Online mental health services like the new SANE Australia Online Forums can combat this to reach people who might otherwise not receive the support they need.”

The two forums – one for carers and one for people living with mental illness – were developed by SANE Australia with funding from the Department of Health and will provide nationwide online peer-to-peer support services.

“Today, the Internet is a major source of health and medical information” Minister Dutton said. Help on keyboard

“International and Australian research has demonstrated that online therapy can be just as effective for people with anxiety and depression as face-to-face therapy.”

“The Government recognises the potential of e-health and e-mental health to improve health outcomes for Australians, wherever they live. We are investing in e-mental health as part of our overall plan to build stronger, better, primary health care,”  he said.

The SANE Australia Forums will complement existing e-mental health services which the Government is providing funding of $122 million over the next four years.

To access the SANE online forums, please see www.saneforums.org.

This article first appeared on ‘Media Net’ on 27 August 2014.


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