Expanding help-seeking options for young people by delivering mental health services online – the eheadspace experience

Young people have the highest need for mental health care across the lifespan, yet the lowest level of service use. Improving access to appropriate mental health care and increasing engagement with services is a priority for mental health reform in Australia. Providing services and interventions via online and mobile technologies is increasingly a focus for improving access and engagement for young people.

It is argued that because of the almost universal uptake and integration of online and mobile communication within young people’s lives, this is one of the best ways to reach this age group. eheadspace has been developed to augment the headspace youth mental health initiative to increase access to mental health care through a national online and telephone support service for young people.

eheadspace was rolled-out nationally in October 2011 and comprises a clinically supervised, youth-friendly, online mental health information and support service that offers an accessible ‘soft entry’ point to the mental health system.

This paper will describe the development and roll-out of eheadspace and present data on the characteristics of young people accessing the service. The limitations and challenges of such an online intervention approach will be described, with discussions about the role of such approaches in the mental health care system.

Ms Carmen Garrett, headspace will present at the
4th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium to be held on the 19 – 21 November 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

Web:  https://dev3.anzmh.asn.au/rrmh  | Email: ruralhealth@anzmh.asn.au