The New South Wales government has invested A$1.5 million to bring a digital mental health platform to eight of its mental health services. Its installation is targeted to be completed by 30 June next year.
WHAT IT DOES
The Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) platform provides round-the-clock integrated face-to-face and online therapy, tools and programmes for young people aged 15 to 25 with mental health issues.
It has a network of peers and mental health clinicians supporting young patients who can also interact with other patients through the platform. MOST also gives users the ability to create their own toolkit of strategies to access before, during and after their therapy sessions.
Introduced last year in July, it is designed by Orygen, an Australian non-profit research and mental health service organisation. The digital platform can be accessed via mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers.
MOST was piloted in Victoria and was rapidly expanded there as part of the state government’s COVID-19 community support response.
WHY IT MATTERS
Since the pandemic, young Australians have to wait between six to eight weeks before they can secure an appointment with a psychologist at headspace, a government non-profit centre for youth mental health. Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the installation of MOST will provide them with instant access to specialist support during this “challenging time”. It is expected that the platform will help alleviate some of the burdens faced by mental health services in the state.
THE LARGER TREND
The University of Sydney in July received a A$3.4 million ($2.5 million) grant from the federal government’s Clinical Trials and Cohorts Studies scheme to try out a new model of care for young people who are in the early stages of their mental health problems. The university’s Brain and Mind Centre is collaborating with Orygen, Deakin University and the University of Notre Dame for the five-year Youth Model of Care trial that will commence early next year; it will involve around 1,500 youth currently under treatment in mental health services for mood disorders.
The project will provide participating clinicians with access to a digital platform that combines measurement-based care and real-time healthcare through detailed assessment measures, longitudinal tracking and interactivity.
ON THE RECORD
“MOST is changing the way we provide mental health services by connecting digital mental health technology with clinical services to address gaps in existing care models, provide on-demand support and sustain real-life recovery for young people. It is exciting that with this support of the NSW government we can now offer this world-leading digital mental health service to young people across the state,” Orygen Executive Director Patrick McGorry said.