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Provision of text-chat service aims to improve mental healthcare

Photo Credit: Swinburne University of Technology

The National eTherapy Centre of the Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with a CSIRO medtech startup in order to allow Australians to access quality mental health services through encrypted, real-time text chat sessions.

According to a recent press release, the service is offered as part of the University’s Mental Health Online, which is free for all Australians and provides access to treatment programs for common mental health issues including depression and anxiety.

Background of the initiative

Real-time text chat sessions with clinicians will now be a part of the service, alongside email, and video calls, offering an additional modality to suit a broader remit of needs within the community.

As shared by the Mental Health Online Clinical Program Manager, the real-time communication with clients is a really important addition to their service.

The medium of text chat is so popular because people can reach out to get human support without the pressure of talking or showing their face.

For many clients, a real-time text chat session is a practical first step into talking with a health practitioner, which for some can be quite confronting.

The text-chat sessions have so far been hugely successful. Since being rolled out in March this year, the chat sessions have become a very popular option amongst the clients.

It has become the most common modalities used to support clients in completing their online mental health program.

Benefits of text-chats

The courses are designed to give people the tools to self-manage their mental health, and using them together with a practitioner helps people get the maximum out of them.

The CEO and Co-Founder of the medtech start-up expressed pleasure that the new text-only chat modality added to their video chat platform is having such a big impact.

She explained that while telehealth is a fantastic solution for those seeking support, it is still under-utilised in Australia.  However, text chat is further reducing barriers to its adoption.

The goal is to make healthcare services easily accessible and usable to all citizens. They are working hard to ensure that their telehealth technology is easy to use.

Additionally, they are constantly looking at new ways for people to use the service. Gladly, the text-only chat sessions are helping hundreds of people across Australia.

As with the rest of the company’s offerings, the text-only conference rooms have been built with security and privacy top of mind.

All data is end-to-end encrypted, and is deleted at the end of a patient’s session, unless they give permission otherwise.

Research has shown that up to 80% of clinician visits can be provided online with comparable clinical outcomes.


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