Virtual Clinic to Provide Mental Health Services Open Tenders Invited
As part of the Australian Government’s implementation of its record mental health package, the Department of Health and Ageing has issued an open and competitive Invitation to Apply for Funding (ITA) to suitably qualified organisations to develop and deliver Virtual Clinic mental health services.
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10 March 2012
Thousands of Australians who experience anxiety and depression will be able to access online counselling and therapy with the call today for organisations to develop and deliver a new mental health Virtual Clinic.
As part of the Gillard Government’s implementation of its record mental health package, the Department of Health and Ageing today issued an open and competitive Invitation to Apply for Funding (ITA) to suitably qualified organisations to develop and deliver Virtual Clinic mental health services.
The ITA will close at 2pm on 11 April 2012.
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the Virtual Clinic would provide online counselling with the assistance of a therapist, for people with low to moderate levels of mental disorders, and complement existing face-to-face mental health therapies.
“Therapists will use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to deliver online counselling and will also be able to refer clients to self-guided online therapies, or other services, according to the client’s needs,” Mr Butler said.
The Gillard Government is investing $20 million over three years in the Virtual Clinic as part of the 2010 election commitment to improve suicide prevention support services.
“It is expected as many as 30,000 people will be assisted by the Virtual Clinic over the three years, especially people living in rural and remote areas,” Mr Butler said.
“It will improve access to counselling and therapies for people living in social isolation or who are unable to travel to obtain face-to-face services.”
Online therapy services help reduce the stigma associated with mental disorders which can significantly deter people from seeking assistance.
The new Virtual Clinic will be accessible through the Government’s new mental health Portal – an online database of mental health services – which is due to be up and running in July this year.
One-in-five Australians (3.2 million) aged between 16 to 85 years experience mental illness in any given year. Only one-third of them seek help.
Link to ITA
For all media enquiries, please contact the Minister’s office on (02) 6277 7280
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