MindSpot Clinic: Assisting Australians to Access Mental Health Care Virtually

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will be held next month over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Ms Carol Purtell. Clinic Director at MindSpot who will present on ‘MindSpot Clinic: Assisting Australians to Access Mental Health Care Virtually’.


Globally, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and problematic substance abuse are prevalent, chronic and disabling (Kessler et al 2009). Multiple barriers to treatment exist including the limited number of mental health professionals, direct and indirect costs of treatment, low mental health literacy, and stigma (Titov, 2011). These barriers have driven interest around the world in alternative models of mental health care (Kazdin,2015) including virtual care. Australia’s vastness presents barriers to accessing mental health services especially for those in rural and remote areas. In 2012 the Australian Government adopted an E-Mental Health Strategy, including MindSpot a free online and telephone mental health service, funded by the Federal Department of Health.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of MindSpot’s services which includes provision of mental health information, assessment and therapist- assisted treatment courses. Data from more than 89,000 adults who have accessed the service will be presented. Composite case studies, typical of the patients treated, will also be discussed. This discussion will highlight the real-world challenges patients experience in accessing services, distance from health services, stigma and lack of local mental health professionals.

Results: MindSpot has provided services to more than 89,000 Australians. Of those opting for online treatment, more than 70% complete MindSpot online treatment courses, and overall, symptoms reduce on average by 50%, with improvements sustained at follow-up. These improvements are seen across people with a broad range of characteristics including older and younger adults, rural and metropolitan patients, and those with mild to severe symptoms. More than 95% of consumers report they would recommend the service to a friend.
Conclusions: The MindSpot Clinic is an innovative mental health virtual clinic which is using technology to successfully provide, clinically effective, accessible assessment and treatment services which are acceptable to patients. However, MindSpot is not a panacea, and is not suitable for all consumers.

Key Learnings:
1. MindSpot a virtual mental health.
2. Clinic has been increasing access for those patients unwilling or unable to access mental health services.
3. Online and telephone mental health services are not a panacea, are not suitable for all patients.


Carol Purtell is a Senior Executive, mental health specialist and Registered Nurse with a Masters of Social Science (Counselling) with over 30 years of leadership experience in Australia and abroad. Carol is the Clinic Director of the MindSpot Clinic a free nationwide telephone and online mental health treatment service for Australian adults experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD and OCD. Carol and the Team at the MindSpot Clinic are committed to increasing access to mental health services for Australians through high-quality, innovative and evidence-based assessment and treatment services.

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium please visit anzmh.asn.au/rrmh

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