About digital mental health services

Digital mental health services are easily accessible for free, or at low cost, either:

  • online (via desktops, mobile devices and apps), including through web chat and peer support forums
  • by phone, including through calls or texts.

This makes sure anyone can access support when they need it, as either a complement or alternative to face-to-face therapies.

Digital services often focus on common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and include:

  • crisis support
  • counselling
  • treatment options
  • health promotion
  • education
  • prevention
  • recovery support.

They are delivered in real time in various settings, including homes, workplaces, schools and clinicians’ practices.

Some services offer fully automated self-help programs, while others involve guidance from clinicians, volunteer crisis supporters, teachers, administrators or peers.

While digital mental health services are available to everyone, some provide targeted support to specific groups, such as:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse populations
  • children and young people
  • the LGBTQIA+ community
  • survivors of torture and trauma
  • pregnant women and new parents
  • men.

Why digital mental health services are important

Online and phone mental health services provide immediate and anonymous support. Anyone can access them at any time, whether they:

  • experience mental ill-health
  • want to support someone experiencing mental ill-health
  • want to maintain good mental health.

These services are particularly important where face-to-face support is harder to access. This includes for people who:

  • are in an immediate crisis
  • live in rural and remote areas
  • are uncomfortable with face-to-face services
  • want to seek general advice on what they can do for their wellbeing
  • are unsure about their feelings and looking for more information.

Goals of digital mental health services

Digital mental health services aim to give people who are experiencing mental ill-health the help they need when they need it.

In particular, they seek to help those who struggle to access mental health support, because they:

  • live away from face-to-face services
  • don’t want to use face-to-face services
  • worry about stigma and privacy.

Who we work with

We fund various organisations to deliver free or low-cost digital mental health services.

Go to Head to Health to find the service that best suits your needs.

Phone and online mental health services have become an integral part of mental health support. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards. These standards help make sure digital services are accurate, safe and of high quality. 

Contact

Digital mental health services contact

Contact us for more information about digital mental health services.

eMentalHealthCoords [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
17 March 2021